This volume is a compilation of award-winning essays written by students who range in age from 9 to 19. Accompanying each essay are photographs of the student, a brief biographical note and details about the individual "Laws of Life" competitions that each has won. The editors ask readers to imagine themselves in a community auditorium listening to these young voices, sitting among their parents, teachers, friends and competitors. Most of the essays are spiritual, often emphasizing defining moments in their lives, and in the lives that they chose to write about. Living life to the fullest, on helping others, on honesty, on having faith, and on optimism are samples of the included titles. Values, morals, and sage advice are often interwoven into these heartfelt pieces. I repeatedly thought, "college essay material" and "English composition class." Essays are two to three pages in length and lend themselves to being read aloud. This volume would find an audience among students looking for personal essay themes, yet I cannot imagine it receiving a wide leisure following. Parents of these young authors should be proud of their students' accomplishments and find fulfillment in seeing this compilation. Middle school libraries might shelve it alongside monologues and/or essays. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Arthur J. Templeton Foundation Press (Five Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 120, 100 Matsonford Rd. Radnor, PA 19087), 189p, illus, 24cm, 00-064818, $12.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Nancy Zachary; YA Libn., Scarsdale P.L, Scarsdale, NY, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-These 62 award-winning essays were selected as the best of the 60,000 entries submitted by young people from all over the world through the Laws of Life program since its inception in 1987. Begun as the brainchild of Sir John Templeton, former Wall Street financier turned philanthropist, the foundation supports, among other things, the development of character education. Under the auspices of this program, communities in 23 of the United States and 30 countries now have some form of contest that challenges young adults (in some communities even elementary school children) to examine and explain the values, attitudes, or experiences that have helped shape who they are or who they wish to become. Among the categories included are: "On Courage," "On Perseverance," "On Optimism," "On Compassion and the Pursuit of Excellence." Most of the selections relate a story of how an encounter with someone less fortunate, someone with remarkably inspiring character traits, or someone who loved them unconditionally helped the young writers to determine their goals and personalities. The entrants range from age 9 to 20; consequently, the literary quality varies widely. Following each article is an explanation of the Laws of Life competition in that particular community, how long it has been in place, how it is supported, and what kinds of prizes are awarded.-Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.