This story of perseverance was written for the young-adult audience (middle school and up) but adults will find it inspiring as well. Bread Upon the Water is the true story of Father Tien Duong, and begins during his childhood in postwar Vietnam as the country is being taken over by Communists. The reader will learn about the persecution of Catholics by the Communist regime and of the risky attempts to escape to a safe place of freedom–which often cost people their lives.
Author Deanna K. Klingel’s experience in writing historically-based books for young adults shines through in the wealth of useful background information that is provided at the beginning of the book. The historical timeline that sets the scene for this biography includes national events as well as personal milestones in Tien Duong’s life. Readers will also benefit from a hand-drawn map of the area and information on pronunciation and family names; all of this helps set the scene for Tien Duong’s life story.
Bread Upon the Water would be an excellent supplement to a middle- or high-school student’s lessons in contemporary American or world history. While not spiritual reading per se, Tien Duong’s story is always focused on his pursuit of his priestly vocation and his trust in God even during difficult times.
This spiritual biography focuses on a person struggling with faith and many trials and is not set in the remote past–in fact, Father Tien Duong is very much active and alive. What better book to give your older children to read during this season of Lent?
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Copyright 2016 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS