Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande - ESSENTIAL

Brande, Robin; Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature, 272 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G


What if all your friends, everyone you grew up with, and even your parents turn against you? What would you do? This is Mena’s life. This last Summer, Mena chose to stand-up against a movement in her conservative community to shun a former member who has announced he is gay. Her parents aren’t speaking to her, her pastor has asked her to leave the church, and her “friends” now taunt her relentlessly. Needless to say, Mena is not looking forward to the start of a new school year. Just when Mena was beginning to adjust to her new solitary life, her science teacher announces that for the next while, her class will be studying evolution. There are some in the class that choose to protest the teaching of this subject. Mena is in the middle again! She can understand her teacher’s position that evolution can be scientifically proven and intellectual design cannot. However, she also can understand the place that intelligent design has in her belief system. This conflict threatens to tear the school and Mena apart. Mena has to decide who she should side with and this may mean alienating herself more from those she cares about. What is right?

The conflict concerning the teaching of evolution vs. the teaching of intelligent design is real life issue. Brande gives teens a mostly balance look at this debate and allows them to form their own opinions. This story is intellectually stimulating and would provide the basis for a debate concerning the merits of both positions.

Allison Madsen~Youth Services Librarian-SJO Public Librarian

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