SILVER MEDAL WINNER - Moonbeam Children's Book Awards - When wicked foster parents force an orphaned boy to steal a serpent's treasure, his only hope lies in the fantastical world of Beyond Belief. More about the story - Ten-year-old orphan Thomas Meek meets the adoptive parents his heart yearns for only to have them lose their claim on him before he can climb into their car. The usurpers are a strange couple indeed--Mr. & Mrs. Conniption, a sneering pair of connivers who force him into hard labor at their ramshackle house. Thomas despairs until he meets Birdie, a strangely powerful girl who unlocks the mystery of the books his father left him and brings him to the wondrous land of Beyond Belief, where qualities of the heart are worth more than gold. But his life worsens back in this world. The Conniptions bully him into searching a perilous mine for a treasure guarded by a gigantic sea serpent. Birdie warns him that the search will destroy him. Thomas must choose: obey her or follow his own fierce desire for riches that he believes will set him free. It's a choice of love or loss for him, his friend, his would-be parents, and the father who loves him more than anyone in this and all other worlds.