"An innocent and sharply realistic look at the world of teens dealing with life."
Reviewed by Morgan Chilson
Posted April 19, 2010
The first time Matthew saw the girl, she took a sandwich
from the trashcan and ate it. He couldn't get her out of
his mind -- wondering what would cause someone to eat from
the trash, what kind of life she might be living. He had
plenty of time for wondering, as this was going to be the
most boring, worst summer ever.
Finally, he spoke to her, learned her name was Dinah,
shared his sandwich and eventually showed her a room in his
father's church where she could safely stay overnight.
Bonding with this homeless teenager gave Matthew a
different view of the world, at a time when his own views
of his family were being challenged and shifting.
So much of growing up is about discovering the ability to
look outside of your own world view. Ms. Gray offers a both
innocent and sharply realistic look at the world of these
teens, pushing them both to learn outside what they know. I
love Matthew's summer project, using physics to prove that
God exists. A good read.
Matthew knows that this summer is going to be the worst
ever. His best friend Kyle is gone, his younger brother
Mark has surpassed him in size and athletic ability, and
his mother is pregnant for the fifth time.
The eldest home-schooled son of a preacher, Matthew plans
to bury himself in books about the speed of light and
Einstein's Theory of Relativity to see if he can prove his
own theory about the dilation of time.
Instead, he befriends Dinah, a homeless teenager seeking
refuge at the library.
Although from very different backgrounds, Matthew and Dinah
come to realize that they have a great deal in commonótheir
love for music, and for cans of olives and potato chips
found in a supermarket dumpster that are just past the sell-
by date . . . and maybe even for each other.
Matthew struggles with his feelings for his own family as
he helps Dinah avoid Child Welfare. And in the process,
Dinah helps him discover that even the smallest acts of
kindness can make a very big difference.
Summer Sanctuary by Laurie Gray
8, pp. 48-52
by Socratic Parenting LLC. All rights reserved.
are you studying?" Dinah asked as she sat down at the table
dilation and the speed of light," I said propping my head
for?" asked Dinah, examining the book closest to her.
have this theory that I'm hoping to prove, but it's turning
out to be
way more complicated than I thought." I flipped the book
in front of me shut and sighed. "Did you know that a light
year is a measure of distance, not time?"
shrugged. "So what's your theory?"
started reading Einstein's theory of relativity and how the
speed we know of is the speed of light." Dinah raised her
eyebrows and opened her eyes wide, trying to take it all
like this," I explained. "Suppose I throw a ball to you at
50 miles per hour. The ball's traveling at 50 miles per
suppose we're riding on a train thatís traveling 50 miles
I'm holding the ball, so you and me and the ball are all
50 miles per hour on the train, right?" I checked to make
sure she was still with me.
now suppose I throw the ball to you at 50 miles per hour.
and I are still traveling at 50 miles per hour, but the
ball is traveling
at 100 miles per hour, right?" I was nodding, but Dinah
way are you facing?" Dinah asked.
do you mean which way am I facing?" I thought she was just
mean are you throwing the ball in the same direction the
or do you have your back to the front of the train,
throwing it back
to me?" Dinah asked. She was serious, and suddenly
it dawned on me what she meant.
say I'm facing the front of the train and throwing the ball
in the same
direction that the train's moving," I said.
then I can see that the ball would be traveling 100 miles
how fast something is traveling is relative to how fast the
it are traveling. And that's true for everything except
Light always travels at 300,000 kilometers per second. If
train was traveling at 100,000 kilometers per second and
had a light
on the front of it, the light would still only travel at
per second. If you were on another train traveling toward
light at 100,000 kilometers per second and the train with
wasn't moving, the light would still travel toward you at
that seems a little weird," Dinah said. "So what's time
dilation is how time slows down the faster you move. So if
were in a rocket zooming by earth, you wouldn't age as fast
as I would
here on earth," I explained.
that's what you're trying to prove?" Dinah asked, looking
like my hair suddenly poofed up like Einsteinís.
Einstein already proved all that. I'm trying to prove that
Bible told us this way before Einstein figured it out," I
My palms were getting sweaty. I suddenly wondered if
verses to Dinah was such a great idea.
mean like Einstein's theory of relativity is written in the
all spelled out exactly, but when I was reading all the
proved, I kept thinking of two things I'd read in the Bible-
is light, and that 1,000 years on earth is like a single
day to God.
So I want to do the math to see if the time dilation
traveling at the
speed of light would be like one day equals 1,000 years."
is that like algebra or geometry or what?" Dinah wanted to
"That's what I'm trying
to figure out. I thought that I just needed to look up how
a light year is and then compare the number of seconds in a
light years to the number of seconds in a single day on
Only a light year is how far light travels in a year.
not time. Now I'm stuck."
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