Ingerman, Sandra and Kathleen Wood. “The Hidden Worlds”, Moon Books, 2018.
A Look at Shamanism
Don’t ever let anyone say that dreams have no meaning. We know that dreams do mean something but are not sure what that something is. In this young reader’s novel we meet Isaiah who one night has quite a dream in which some of his classmates took part. Popular soccer star Magda was there as was George, who Isaiah had never heard speak because he always left classes to go to special services. Rose, the Chinese girl who was always in trouble for fighting was also in his dream and even weirder were dead birds and fish everywhere. The following day when the four students see each other sitting by the same pond that was in each of their dreams, they see that they did indeed share a dream and that the dead birds and fish were actually covering the ground. Here is the beginning of a real adventure that they get to share as well as more dreams and the discovery of a toxic waste plant that is getting rid of poisons illegally.
The four were not real friends but as they begin to be together and to work together, love enters their lives. Children do not usually get a chance to experience a shamanic occurrence. Because the children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, it is important that they be open to new experiences and the cinematic approach is certainly a good one. Whenever I think of cinema as a teaching tool, I am reminded of the tremendous impact that DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” had on all of us and that according to surveys taken, the film is indirectly responsible for the growth of faith wherever it was screened.
“The Hidden Worlds” was written for middle school students and it brings together reading, adventure, puberty, shamanism and academics. There is also something for adults here since they can answer the questions that the young people have. As I read this I was reminded that we had nothing like this when I was growing up. It gives us an excellent introduction to the ways of shamanism. The authors cleverly bring together good reading, middle school adventure, puberty, and shamanism.
The book starts with the teenage angst that we are all aware of and it draws us into the story. Our four main characters have all struggled to fit in and this is another important theme to deal with. The Shamanic content is accessible, inspiring and uplifting. We see how relationships with spirit can translate to practical day to day guidance and support. We also get a bit about awareness of our environment and how to care for it.
Even though the characters in this book are in the 7th grade, the story is both convincing and enthralling for adults. The characters are well drawn and believable, and the plot is well thought out. The story gives hope to teens who want to connect with others and help to make the world a better place.