Sometimes funny, sometimes startling--and featuring a variety of settings, cultures, and beliefs--these twelve original stories evoke dilemmas of faith and identity that are familiar to us all.
The anthology brings together a powerful mix of award-winning contributors: Jennifer Armstrong, Margaret Peterson Haddix, M. E. Kerr, Gregory Maquire, Kyoko Mori, Jess Mowry, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marilyn Singer, Nancy Springer, Joyce Carol Thomas, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Jacqueline Woodson.
Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL)
In these "twelve brushes with religion" written by leading young-adult authors, teens from a wide range of beliefs search for answers to the hard questions of faith at crucial points in their lives. Braving the long-held taboo in teen fiction against spiritual inquiry, I Believe in Water approaches God from surprising angles. Virginia Euwer Wolff shows us three different girls confronting unwanted pregnancies, praying in the contexts of Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam. Jacqueline Woodson shares a glimpse of her own childhood as a Jehovah's Witness, while Joyce Carol Thomas takes us into the shivery practice of religious snake handling. Gregory Maguire contributes an affecting story about a boy's return to Catholicism, while Jennifer Armstrong plays sainthood for laughs. Marilyn Singer finds answers on the edges of Judaism. In Kyoko Mori's fine story, a young Japanese woman surrenders her life to fate, and, in what is perhaps the most exotic piece in the book, Jess Mowry weaves a tale about a chubby voodoo child-deity. Other very different stories by M.E. Kerr, Naomi Shihab Nye, Nancy Springer, and Margaret Peterson Haddix make this an audacious, unforgettable collection that will reach out to teens pondering spiritual realities in their own lives. For another excellent selection of short stories that address teens and religion, don't miss Sandy Asher's With All My Heart, with All My Mind: Thirteen Stories About Growing Up Jewish. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell