Soul’s Child, the 2012 award-winning spell binder by Dianne Gray, unearthed and explored a love/hate relationship between co-dependent father and daughter after the accident in which Aurora Jones’ mother and younger sister died, and left Aurora in a coma for three weeks.
The accident also gave Aurora an insatiable and uncontrollable urge to draw unnaturally realistic scenes she had never experienced. Although she hid her drawings, her father, originally Mervin Oswald Jones, discovered their secret meanings, and began to capitalize on them. Mervin legally changed his name to Clive Soul, and created a Hollywood TV show, Soul Search, to “prove the reality of precognition, ghosts and demons.” The show totally destroyed her trust in her father, when she learned he would do anything to take possession of her drawings.
Throughout the book, Aurora sought true friendship, and struggled to find those she could really trust in an increasingly hostile environment. She finally discovered the significance of her scribblings as her father became more and more dependent on them. She feared for both hers and her father’s life, as the webs between the pictures and real life inextricably entangled.
I usually connect book reviews to the Common Core and sometimes the History Social Science Standards. This is definitely not a non-fiction piece, nor does it specifically teach any social studies, but the value lies in the fiction work, so students would analyze the book referring to the Reading Standards for Literature. For example, asking seventh grade students to work with standard RL 6 Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text, will help them deeply understand the intricacies of this surprisingly complex novel.
I highly recommend this book to mature readers.