The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birth of a Hero by author Dawnette N. Brenner is about a 12-year-old boy named Joshua who finds himself thrust into a magical land full of danger.
This book made me really emotional. Not only does the book cover a tough but important topic, how kids deal with divorce, but the quotes from anonymous children talking about divorce were heartbreaking. It really is important to remember that kids can be affected in different ways and often see more than people think, and like Joshua, often feel guilt. And on top of that, the book is also dealing with mental illness as Joshua is a pre-teen dealing with bipolar disorder. Having a book that deals with subjects like this is very important, and I feel that Brenner handled the subjects really well. This is the kind of book that readers can definitely connect to, both in how you deal with struggles and watching the struggles of others.
Brenner has done a fantastic job of entering into the mind of a child. The imaginative world that Joshua finds himself in is a great representation of the kind of imaginary places children make up to escape to. I loved how the land of Ice Plants and Norkels has not just a dreamlike quality but really captures how imaginary worlds are distorted versions of what we see and know. Things like Thragons that seem close to familiar but are a magic of their own. The imagery she uses really brings the fantastical world to life. The back and forth switch from the magical realm to the real world is disorienting, but it is clear that this was intentional as we watch Joshua dealing with the world around him.
Joshua is an incredible character who is dealing with a great deal both internally and externally. This book is a magical way of showing and handling tough subjects for your adult readers. I found this book to be enchanting to read, even when it made me want to cry, and I would highly recommend it. I would definitely give this book 5 stars for its unique creativity, and the extraordinary way it deals with its subject matter. I look forward to reading book two!
The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero is a mythological adventure fantasy novel for children and young adults written by Dawnette Brenner. Joshua’s mom and dad were getting divorced. It was absolutely the worst news he could ever imagine receiving, and what made it even harder to bear was that he was convinced that it was his fault. His brother and sisters hadn’t seemed to notice how much their parents had been arguing lately, but Joshua, being the youngest, had, and he found escaping into fantasy worlds had helped him cope with the anger and anxiety he felt building up within him. Joshua had gotten more control over his anger lately, even if kids at school knew exactly which buttons to push, but Terrence was another matter entirely. The two of them seemed to set each other off without even doing anything. Joshua’s mom had helped him discover the causes for his anger. He was bipolar, like his dad. He could be happy and suddenly get set off in the opposite direction. Escaping into fantasy worlds helped a lot, but when he slipped in some ice plants on his way to school that morning, Joshua found himself in a world that only he could save.
Dawnette Brenner’s mythological adventure fantasy novel for children and young adults, The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero, is a fast-paced and exciting story that deftly merges fantasy and reality. Joshua is the consummate hero; he has his flaws and foibles, but he has the courage and heroic inclinations that allow him to get past his own issues and work to save the inhabitants of the Land of the Ice Plants. Brenner’s plot also admirably addresses both the issue of divorce and its impact on children, and the difficulties kids with bipolar disorder face in coping with everyday life. The Ancient Sacred Tree has a grand plot, and it is beautifully written. Brenner’s characters are sharply delineated, and her fantasy world works very well indeed. The Ancient Sacred Tree: Birthing a Hero is most highly recommended.
Soon to arrive, book 2 in the series of The Ancient Sacred Tree Chronicles.
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