She looked at the tea leaves moving in the bottom of the cup, patterns swimming and changing. In her mind she saw the design she was sewing. If only I had some more red thread to finish it. Maybe after he’s had his tea, I can ask him. But he’s been looking at the papers in his brown envelope again and then he’s always cross.
There’s a trick to writing good middle grade fiction, and with “Kondi’s Quest”, author Sylvia Stewart has skillfully achieved it. Not only is this book engaging for eight-to-thirteen-year-olds, but it is a literary delight for adults as well.
At the heart of this story is the desire of a twelve-year-old girl to win her father’s love. Innocent young Kondi fears her alcoholic, abusive father. She’s curious about a mysterious brown envelope he carries around with him, and is curious about its contents. Why is this man whose love and acceptance she craves, so angry and secretive?
Then the unthinkable happens. Kondi’s father beats her pregnant mother, sending her to the hospital. But instead of hating her father for what he has done, Kondi prays for him. Will the love and strong faith of a daughter help turn her father toward God?
I really loved this story, and the way Ms. Stewart draws us into young Kondi’s life. I was intrigued by the mystery, and inspired by Kondi’s ongoing faith and hopefulness. This is a wonderful book that will teach young readers not only about African culture, but about the benefits of forgiveness.