What's new: 'Red Shirt Kids' teaches lessons on individual worth

By Cecily Markland

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"RED SHIRT KIDS," by Bryce Clark and Kim B. Clark, Sourced Media Books, $17.99, 165 pages (f)

In “Red Shirt Kids,” author Bryce Clark brings to life the stories he and his siblings heard from their father, President Kim B. Clark, former dean of Harvard Business School and president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

There is richness to the reading, as the tale of the “Red Shirt Kids” unfolds with a warm, storytelling quality — filled with adventure, imagination and important lessons.

In the introduction of the book, which is released Sept. 24, President Clark explains how he used stories to teach important principles about things like service, being a good friend, being a good brother or sister, courage, patience and kindness.

“I never imagined that those stories I made up long ago would inspire Bryce to write this book," he writes. “Bryce took the basic idea and created a whole new world.”

The world of “Red Shirt Kids” is a mix of the mythical and magical played out against a setting of a fairly typical teenager’s environment. The story centers around sibling sixth graders, Mike and Amy, who, after moving with their family to a different state, discover mysterious red shirts in an old wooden chest in the attic of their new home, and the red shirts give them special powers.

The youngsters soon learn that other young people have powers as well. The challenge is to value each other’s gifts, learn to harness them and work together to not only find the two children who had gone missing over the summer, but also to outsmart a powerful adversary.

The book references real-life situations, such as a parent who drinks alcohol and is not a good father. It is replete with examples of moral decisions about lying, cooperating and listening to parents.

Cecily Markland is a freelance writer, book editor, publicist and author of "Hope: One Mile Ahead" and the children’s book "If I Made a Bug." She owns Inglestone Publishing and produces cecilymarkland.com, a calendar of LDS events in Arizona.

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