The circle of life is one of life's greatest mysteries-our physical bodies are here so briefly when time is perceived as infinite. The loss of a loved one is tragic but with hope, healing and love comes an understanding of how a life is truly infinite as well. Writer and educator Suzanne Gene Courtney's Ride to the Stars paints a beautiful and inspiring picture through which children can understand these concepts and find comfort in knowing that life on the other side continues. Courtney's tale is set on the Big Island of Hawaii and is a testament to her oldest son, Daniel Robert Sayre, who died there, at the age of 25. Spanning over two decades, her melodic prose is peppered with words of comfort and wisdom that will resonate with children. It teaches the beauty of life, the importance of family, and the absolute joy of cherishing each day. Her characters, a boy named Daniel and a green sea turtle named Honu, are beautifully rendered to encapsulate a sensitive subject. The result is a loving and gentle message that inspires young ones to honor and exemplify life and to know that life does indeed go on forever.
2015 Pacific Rim Book Festival, Honorable Mention
2011 Character Building Counts Award, Silver Seal
Story Monsters Ink, review by Darleen Wohlfeil, February 2016 issue:Ride to the Stars is a tender children's story about life, loss, and love. So often when we are faced with such events, we are at a loss for what to say. Overwhelmed with the details, we desperately attempt to soothe the wounded with meaningfully overused sayings, leaving the heart void of our intentions. Especially the heart of a child, who has not yet grasped such idioms and phrases. I personally found myself faced with this very thing.Heartbroken as one may be, little minds warped with grief want an explanation. They too desperately need to find peace and understanding to right the upheaval in their lives. Suzanne Gene Courtney has drawn from her own experience, and lovingly brings those overwhelming losses of life into bite size, digestible portions. Courtney offers a gentle hand forward in bringing a new learning experience. Her story takes place in Hawaii, and we are introduced to Honu, a green sea turtle. We are provided with a glossary of Hawaiian terms and observe different customs and lifestyles. Nothing can replace what is lost, but growing and expanding can lessen the pain. Thank you Suzanne Gene Courtney!