Human sight is remarkably versatile. If we’re given a moment to get acquainted with a room, our eyes and brain will adjust perceived colors such that the lightest of them appears white. But if our versatility extends to notions of right and wrong, it’s not quite as beneficial to us.
In the Towers of Light series by Allen Brokken, the land is torn between bearers of the true light and people whose light is actually darkness. Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan must navigate a bewildering landscape of responsibilities after their parents are imprisoned by an evil bishop. In the second book, Still Small Voice (following Light of Mine), things get even messier: the children’s frontiersman uncle arrives to whisk them off to their grandparents’ house in contradiction to God’s will as understood by Ethan. But what’s more important—respecting their elders, or obeying God’s still, small voice? And is there a way to do both?
The world of this tale has the flavor of the old American frontier, and the pace is often sedate, like a pioneer diary. Language is accessible to younger readers. But the narrative’s simplicity conceals a thorny dilemma: how can the children fulfill their divine mission when their guardian will have none of it? Uncle may be a brash unbeliever, but as the children bond with him on the dangerous road, they realize he has much to teach as well as to learn. In fact, his faith and theirs may prove more connected than they’d expected. But sometimes, shining the Light is easier said than done.
Best for: Middle-grade readers, parents who want thought-provoking material to read to their younger children.
Discern: Some bloody wounds, threatening language, implied abuse, and frightening situations; evil and good magics sustain various weaponry, children’s parents are held captive, and corrupt religious leaders wear the trappings of piety.