This post is part of an occasional series called Finding God in Children’s Literature, in which I look at children’s books in light of the Bible and Sacred Tradition. All correlations between these books and the Christian faith are my own insights, unless otherwise noted. You may quote me or link to these posts, but please do not re-blog them or use these ideas as though they were your own. Thank you.
Earlier this week I began researching My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George in preparation for the boys’ book club I am starting this spring. When reading or reading about books for use in our homeschool, I am always on the lookout for tie-ins to Sacred Scripture. This time, the tie-in is obviously a conscious one. Even so, a Google search turned up no other references to it.
Here’s the background. Young Sam Gribley has left his family’s apartment in New York City to live by himself in the Catskill Mountains. For months, he has no contact with his family. Then his dad shows up unexpectedly on Christmas Day. He stays with Sam for a week. As he is leaving for home, he says, “I’ve decided to leave by another route. Somebody might backtrack me and find you. And that would be too bad.” The text continues, “He came over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. ‘You’ve done very well, Sam.'”
I’m sure you’ll agree this is a reference to Matthew 2:12–“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they [the magi] departed for their country by another way.” I believe there is also a reference to Jesus’ baptism, when the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord next Sunday. It was traditionally a part of the feast of Epiphany.
Share with us: Do you know anything about the author’s religious background? Can you see the hand of God in her other books?
FYI – my daughter loves this book and has read it several times. I think your book club will love it too!
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