January 1, 2020

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Salvation on Sand Mountain

By: Dennis Covington
Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12, College Plus
For New York Times reporter Dennis Covington, what began as a journalistic assignment—covering the trial of an Alabama pastor convicted of attempting to murder his wife with poisonous snakes-would evolve into a headlong plunge into a bizarre, mysterious, and ultimately irresistible world of unshakable faith: the world of holiness snake handling. Set in the heart of Appalachia, Salvation on Sand Mountain is Covington's unsurpassed and chillingly captivating exploration of the nature, power, and extremity of faith-an exploration that gradually turns inward, until Covington finds himself taking up the snakes. —From Da Capo Press
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The first time I went to a snake-handling service, nobody even took a snake out. This was in Scottsboro, Alabama, in March of 1992, at The Church of Jesus with Signs Following. I'd come to the church at the invitation of one of the members I'd met while covering the trial of their preacher, Rev. Glenn Summerford, who had been convicted and sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for attempting to murder his wife with rattlesnakes.
  • Jesus Land: A Memoir
    Julia Scheeres

    Jesus Land: A Memoir

    By: Julia Scheeres
    Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12, College Plus

    Julia and her adopted brother, David, are sixteen-years-old. Julia is white. David is black. It is the mid-1980s and their family has just moved to rural Indiana, a landscape of cottonwood trees, trailer parks, and an all-encompassing racism. At home are a distant mother—more involved with her church’s missionaries than her own children—and a violent father. In this riveting and heartrending memoir Julia Scheeres takes us from the Midwest to a place beyond imagining: surrounded by natural beauty, the Escuela Caribe—a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic—is characterized by a disciplinary regime that extracts repentance from its students by any means necessary. Julia and David strive to make it through these ordeals and their tale is relayed here with startling immediacy, extreme candor, and wry humor -- From Counterpoint Press

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.

  • Salvation on Sand Mountain
    Dennis Covington

    Salvation on Sand Mountain

    By: Dennis Covington
    Recommended for grade(s): 10, 11, 12, College Plus

    For New York Times reporter Dennis Covington, what began as a journalistic assignment—covering the trial of an Alabama pastor convicted of attempting to murder his wife with poisonous snakes-would evolve into a headlong plunge into a bizarre, mysterious, and ultimately irresistible world of unshakable faith: the world of holiness snake handling. Set in the heart of Appalachia, Salvation on Sand Mountain is Covington's unsurpassed and chillingly captivating exploration of the nature, power, and extremity of faith-an exploration that gradually turns inward, until Covington finds himself taking up the snakes. —From Da Capo Press

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.

  • The Power of Myth
    Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

    The Power of Myth

    By: Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers
    Recommended for grade(s): 11, 12

    The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people–including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. --From the website at Penguin Random House

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  • Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from a Native American Childhood
    Ednah New Weber

    Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from a Native American Childhood

    By: Ednah New Weber
    Recommended for grade(s): 5, 6, 7, 8

    After her beloved Grandmother dies, EdNah, a seven-year-old Pawnee girl, goes to live with a father she hardly knows on a Navajo reservation miles away. Heartbroken but resilient, she begins to create a new life for herself in this unfamiliar place. Just as EdNah starts to feel at home in her new surroundings, she is sent away to a strict government-run Indian school. With her world turned upside down once again, EdNah must learn to rely on herself and her newfound community of friends. Told in the unconventional voice of a seasoned storyteller, Rattlesnake Mesa is a true account of a girl coming-of-age during a complex time in America's past. Both heartbreaking and humorous, you will be moved to tears and laughter as you experience EdNah's spirited celebration of life as a healing. —Lee & Low

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.