Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyBryant brings the life of the great writer and Christian spiritual leader Thomas Merton to the fore in this biography for young adults. From Merton's nomadic childhood and partying college days to his eventual entry into the Gethsemani Abbey (in Kentucky) as a Trappist monk and notoriety as a poet and writer, the fascinating details here will keep readers enthralled. Merton appears all the more human as his struggles to discover and understand the Catholic faith and to accept the advantages and occasional disappointments of the monastic contemplative life. Young people will certainly relate as the adolescent Merton tries to tame his wild ways and find a greater purpose. Although this volume is full of information, Bryant quotes so heavily from other Merton biographies that her book often reads like a term paper. Some of her more personal insights emerge in the latter part of the text but are not enough to give this work an individual stamp. However, Bryant's introduction of this amazing man may well inspire older readers to explore Merton's poetry, his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, his journals and other Merton biographies. Ages 12-14. (May)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy RowenLucretia Mott was a woman of firm opinions and strength, who looked to her Quaker faith and devoted family for support. Early in life she became a respected speaker in the Society of Friends, and later became active in the abolitionist movement. She quickly saw parallels between the plight of slaves in the United States and the status of women in society. Propelled by her devotion to speaking out for what she felt was right, Lucretia Mott became one of the leaders in the first women's rights groups in the U.S. This biography adequately details Mott's life and work, but remains somewhat distanced, lacking the fire of its subject. Eight pages of photographs are inset at the center of the book.
School Library JournalGr 7 UpA profile of the life of the 19th- century Society of Friends minister, abolitionist, and women's rights activist. After an opening chapter describing an 1840 anti-slavery convention where Mott was denied participation because of her sex, the biography goes back to her birth on Nantucket in 1793. It proceeds chronologically to her death in 1880, laying out fairly directly the many events in her long life. The abolitionism/feminism nexus is elucidated, as is Mott's extraordinary moral and physical courage. The emphasis is political rather than social history, and while there is a minimal sprinkling of interesting period detail, Bryant relies mainly on a straightforward recounting of events to bring Mott to life. This account is not dull, but, considering its subject, is neither particularly gripping nor especially good at providing a wider context for the significance of this woman's actions. Despite some modern vernacular (it seems jarringly anachronistic to hear 19th-century Lucretia become aware of "gender bias" or ease her mother's "burden of single parenthood"), the book may be tough going for young people unfamiliar with this era of American history because of the abundance of names and events. Bryant mentions her sources in an author's note. Black-and-white portraits and photos or engravings of significant locales appear in an eight-page centerfold. Dorothy Sterling's Lucretia Mott (Doubleday, 1964; o.p) covers much the same ground in a livelier narrative and gives a better sense of how and why Mott was so remarkable.Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
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