Badge of Honor
by Karen Glinski
Terra Nova Books

"'Walk in beauty, Shitsoi,’ he whispered. ‘I know you can.’ His eyes closed."

Gratitude turns what one has into enough, and Emerson learns this important lesson in Glinski’s intriguing novel. Emerson, a twelve-year-old, is spending the summer on a Navajo reservation when his grandpa is bitten by a snake. Awaiting news from the hospital doctor, Emerson witnesses a sack being chucked into a trash can. Curious, he goes to investigate. Little does he know that the sack is full of stolen jewelry until it is too late. This event starts him racing from one peril to another.

Glinski weaves an exciting adventure interspersed with Navajo history that will hook young readers from the first chapter. From the moment that Emerson picks up the mysterious sack, he is forced to make a difficult decision once he finds out the jewelry is stolen. He imagines a life where he can pawn off the jewelry in exchange for electronics that he doesn’t have. No one would catch him. It sounds easy enough, but he finds out that it really isn’t so easy and that entering the life of a thief has its own dangers and drawbacks.

While Emerson’s story is full of danger and suspense with each chapter ending on a cliff-hanger, at its heart is a tale of a boy who makes a selfish decision and who must make a grasp for redemption. Emerson’s character is relatable, not only to young readers but to adults as well. It is the never-ending struggle to appreciate what one has (and the sacrifices made for it) in a culture of consumerism. The author has penned an action-packed tale, chock-full of important life lessons and relatable characters. It is a must-read for those who are fans of adventure, mystery, and Navajo culture.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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