The summer homework for my middle schooler was an essay about loyalty and devotion in The Bronze Bow. Because of our move this summer, he was transitioning from an Episcopal school to a Catholic school.
Important to the plot.
I read The Bronze Bow whenever he put it down. It’s a great coming of age story about a boy who loses his parents during what happens to be the time of Jesus.
Lots of action. Battles. Roman soldiers. Poverty. Complicated relationships with family, mentors, and friends that the boy is navigating. A great choice for middle school boys.
Jesus is ever-present in the story but a little esoteric, a little hazy compared to the other characters. Then saves the day before heading off to spread the Word.
We talked about characters and the lessons each taught the protagonist. Except…
He wrote his essay.
I asked questions to get him to cover things his first draft missed. “Why was his friend who let him take over the blacksmith shop important?” “How did his understanding of what family means change after seeing….” “Go through the draft and put periods at the end of sentences.” “Now capital letters at the beginning.” “Did you check your spelling?”
It was a good essay. Reflected an understanding of how the protagonist grew into a good man, a good brother, a good friend – and all the people who helped, or hindered, him along the way. Except….
Important to the plot….
He got a C. The teacher’s comment?
“You forgot to mention Jesus.”