I'm teaching World Religions to Middle-schoolers at church this year, and as I plan out the year, I'm looking for novels dealing with the religions we are studying. I find that a story helps the kids be more interested in the religion, and to process and remember the information better.
I've found a few, but thought I would ask for suggestions from all of you for other titles I might suggest to the kids. What have you read that deals with kids/teens and religion? Was it any good? Did it present information about the religion along with the story? I enjoyed all of these books, but some were better than others at giving information about the religion, and some are more appropriate for 5th to 8th graders than others.
Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee
When his beloved grandfather dies, eight-year-old Anu feels that his spirit is near and will stop at nothing to bring him back, including trying to become a Hindu holy man
Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Littman
To be more like her best friend, eleven-year-old Justine decides to give up Judaism to become Catholic, but after her beloved, religious grandmother dies, she realizes that she needs to seek her own way of being Jewish
The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
Hannah resents the traditions of her Jewish heritage until time travel places her in the middle of a small Jewish village in Nazi-occupied Poland
Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick
When thirteen-year-old San Lee moves to a new town and school for the umpteenth time, he is looking for a way to stand out when his knowledge of Zen Buddhism, gained in his previous school, provides the answer--and the need to quickly become a convincing Zen master
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in
Roots and Wings by Many Ly
While in St. Petersburg, Florida, to give her grandmother a Cambodian funeral, fourteen-year-old Grace, who was raised in Pennsylvania, finally gets some answers about the father she never met, her mother's and grandmother's youth, and her Asian-American heritage
Myrtle of Willendorf by Rebecca O'Connell
A bright and artistic young woman with a fondness for junk food experiences a kooky modern-day coming of age by way of the Goddess within