Friday, July 4, 2014

Authors Changing the World, One Book at a Time

I'm lucky enough to know Drusilla Campbell, but I was a fan of her books long before I met her. I'm a lover of clear and simple prose—you know, like Steinbeck and Cather wrote, the kind that is so hard to write. I found one of Drusilla's books in the library—I think it was Little Girl Gone, and I was hooked. (I reviewed her newest book, When She Came Home, on the SPH blog; you can read that post here.)
Recently, I re-read Bone Lake—it had been years since I'd read it, and I saw on Dru's blog where it was on sale in a Kindle ebook version, so I bought it. It blew me away, all over again. Not only does Dru get into the heart and mind of a little girl who's been raised by white supremacists, but she makes that girl, and her life, and her whole-hearted support of their racist beliefs quite believeable—truly, scarily, believable.
Another book I just read is The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona—who just happens to be another author I know and admire. That book is also about a young girl raised in a world whose beliefs clash with her family's and her own. The character and setting couldn't be more different—the girl is a Spanish Jew, "passing" for Catholic, in the years just before the Inquisition. (You can find out more about Laurel and her books on her blog, here.) But what struck me about the two books is how they made me feel about, and feel for, their characters.
No one sets out to have hateful ideas, or to be a hateful person—everyone's upbringing probably starts with their mom and dad teaching them to share and be kind. But somewhere along the way, that instruction becomes adulterated (yep, double-meaning intended) to something like "Share with, and be kind to, only those who look like us"—or worship like us, or love like us. And until we understand how we ourselves do this, how our own children are being "carefully taught," as the song says, then how can we criticize others for doing the same?
The only way we can change the world for the better is to change our way of thinking—hopefully, we can, one book at a time.
So, why not buy books—and support and promote books—that promote peace and understanding?
It can't hurt.
Here's a very short list of some other authors I admire that you might not yet know about, whose works are helping to make a difference: Matthew Pallamary, Marla Miller, Midge Raymond, Robert Yehling, Helen Landalf, and Cate Shepard.
hasta pronto!

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