It’s no easy task to find a book about a challenging topic that treats the subject respectfully and doesn’t present one side as “wrong” to make the other side “right.” I read Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth because our Middle School students are beginning a unit on Charles Darwin and evolution. After a student asked me if I “believed” in evolution, I heard about this book and decided to read it to see if it would be good to recommend to young people who have all kinds of questions.
In this short novel, for ages 10 to 12, Mary Mae is a member of a loving and supportive family. When she encounters issues at school that differ from what she is being taught at home, Mary Mae is caught between two sets of beliefs. What I love about this book is that Mary Mae comes to understand that her religious faith does not take away from the miracle of evolution. She learns to hold two thoughts and value both. It’s a tricky business, and Sandra Dutton treats the topic with respect – and a believable and likable heroine.