100 Book Challenge—Book #17 and 18 Welcome to the Ark and The Flight of the Raven by Stephanie Tolan
So, as a kid, Welcome to the Ark was my very favorite book. I read it so many times that my copy is kind of falling apart. Looking back, I totally understand why I loved it. I am what Steph Tolan calls an “ark kid.” The book is about a group of kids who are more or less loners, highly intelligent, awkward, and so different that others have a hard time accepting them. The only thing that makes it different from my childhood is that they actually have superpowers—they can connect with their minds to stop people with violent intentions from acting them out. There’s this whole idea of a quest and a community that I, as a kid, was so attracted to that I read and reread the book over and over, hoping that someday I would find an ark family where I could fit. While Echo is hardly that, I am incredibly blessed to have this community where I’m accepted and loved. I think in my heart of hearts, I’ll always long for the ark.
Now, given that this book is an all-time fave of mine, you would think I’d know that there was a sequel. Nope, I had no idea until I saw it on goodreads.com. So, I searched the libraries and when I realized I had no alternative, I went ahead and bought it. I don’t regret it at all. I loved this one just as much, as it followed the story of my favorite character—who had gone missing in the last part of the first book—explaining what happened to him. Also, there’s supposed to be a third that Tolan is working on, but she’s been working on it since 2001, so I’m not holding my breath.
I love these books. I love the way that the characters grow and open up. I love the story, the idea, the way it speaks to my heart. I love that the kids—children—are able to so drastically change the world with the power of their connections to each other. It’s a great book to read in an era where people are so “I” centered and don’t want to make real connections. In a world where facebook is how people connect, the idea of something so intimate as walking in each other’s memories and dreams, communicating with thoughts, and being able to dream together… it’s just so vastly different from the world that we live in that I can’t help but feeling attracted to it.
I would recommend this book for kids, particularly those who suffer from their blessing of being different.