Flickering Hope by Naomi Kinsman is part of the Sadie’s Sketchbook series. Twelve-year-old Sadie’s friend, Andrew, and his parents live in a local research cabin to study black bears. Sadie narrates her adventures as she and her friends try to save Patch, a black bear, from hunters. Addressing her crush on Andrew, mending her relationship with her art teacher, and befriending a bully whose father wants to kill Patch makes life challenging for Sadie.
The entire story is well written and easy to relate to. The narrative is interspersed with emails from Sadie to her friend, Pippa. The reader never gets to see Pippa’s responses, nevertheless, she can infer the message based on Sadie’s answers. Kinsman skillfully and accurately represents the thoughts of a twelve-year-old girl. Adult women will even relate to the characters from memories of their childhoods and will enjoy sharing this story with their daughters.
In Chapter 20, “Ribbons and Bows,” Sadie and her friend Ruth discuss how it feels to talk to God and listen for his advice. Ruth describes a time when her grandfather was sick and she felt God’s presence. She says, “That was the first time I had the feeling, Sadie. I knew, one hundred percent, God was there.” The girls continue to talk about whether or not God talks to people and asks people to do things. They decide that He does, as long as people are listening for Him. This is a great lesson for young girls.
John 8:47 says, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” Sadie and her friends make the decision to listen for God’s will and to try to do what is right.
Young girls, particularly middle school ones, will enjoy the ride with Sadie. Girls will relate to Sadie’s feelings and struggles, and will be able to apply the lessons Sadie learns to their own lives. I recommend this series for all young Christian girls, as it provides fun, adventure, and faith. – Allison Russell, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
In the second book of From Sadie’s Sketchbook by Naomi Kinsman Downing, Sadie learns about the nature of God and his love when she works to help save one of the local bears, and finds herself becoming friends with her worst enemy, Frankie, in the process.