A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some discussion of researchers Duncan MacDougall, who tried to determine whether souls have weight, and Linus Pauling, who advocated vitamin C as a cure for multiple maladies. Discussion of how the Vatican determines miracles and decides questions of sainthood, and how chicken eggs are cultivated.
Sometimes, the only way out is through. Life is unpredictable, messy, and difficult, but there’s joy to be had if you can adapt to change.
Positive Role Models
Observant, empathetic, and self-aware, Iris is interested in moving forward through her grief. She’s quick to form opinions, but she’s just as willing to reassess and soften her views. Boris is friendly and outgoing, despite his lack of popularity at school. Adults are generally warm, caring, and respectful of tweens’ need to find their own way.
Violence & Scariness
Brief recounting of child's violent, accidental death.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Question of Miracles centers on an 11-year-old girl’s grief following the sudden death of her best friend, but it's neither mopey nor maudlin. Protagonist Iris is warm and smart, the kind of kid anyone would want as a best friend, but she's uncertain of her footing without Sarah's reassuring presence. She deliberately keeps the world at bay, unready to risk letting anything new into her heart. Without sermonizing or offering easy answers, author Elana K. Arnold offers comfort by showing how a crucible of grief, as with any major life change, can lead to renewal and growth. Iris' predicament is sad, but the focus is on her path forward. A central thread is a visit by Vatican officials, investigating a boy’s survival as a possible miracle that could lead to a dead pope being named a saint. Catholic themes are treated respectfully but with skepticism. Iris consults a psychic and tries suggested techniques to communicate with the dead.
Is It Any Good?
This gentle novel thoughtfully explores grief in all its complexity, particularly the difficulty -- and necessity -- of finding a way to live with the aching hole left by loss and accept uncertainty. THE QUESTION OF MIRACLES is a quiet, character-driven story: It begins after the major dramatic moment in Iris' life and follows her as she tries to figure out who she is without her best friend at her side.
Elana K. Arnold's Iris is warm and smart, the kind of kid anyone would want as a best friend, but she's uncertain of her footing without Sarah's reassuring presence. She deliberately keeps the world at bay, unready yet to risk letting anything new into her heart. Without sermonizing or offering easy answers, Arnold offers comfort by showing how the crucible of grief, as with any major life change, can lead to renewal and growth.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.