The Good Stranger's Sancocho Surprise/El Sancocho Sorpresa del Buen Desconocido (Bilingual Edition)
A stranger comes to a rural town, hungry and alone. He asks for help, but only a young girl, looked down upon by her community, is brave enough to offer it. Together they make sancocho-a traditional Dominican soup-using a secret recipe the stranger has brought from far away. Seemingly out of nothing, the pair creates a miraculous banquet, and along the way, they teach the villagers a lasting lesson about generosity, and overcoming fear. A re-telling of the classic tale "Stone Soup", here set in the Dominican Republic, The Good Stranger's Sancocho Surprise is as timely as ever, and will be enjoyed by children, parents, and teachers alike.
This re-telling distinguishes itself through its authentic details of Dominican landscape and culture, its subtle integration of the Christian stories of "The Loaves and Fishes" and "The Good Samaritan," and its gentle yet pointed treatment of how societies welcome (or do not welcome) those characterized as "others," including immigrants. As such, it will have special appeal to children and adults of Latin American heritage or Christian affiliation, as well as those interested in folk tales, fairy tales, and multicultural books in general. And, by casting the "others" as its heroes, it offers a refreshing counterpoint to the contemporary rhetoric of scapegoating, division, and exclusion.
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About the Author
His debut novel, Run in the Fam'ly (University of Tennessee Press, 2007), won the 2006 Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel.
In 1999, John founded the Pentecost Project, a service-learning program in Dominican communities he has now known for ten years. It is now part of Education Across Borders, the nonprofit organization which John directs. Through this program--which is spiritually-rooted, relationship-centered, and justice-oriented--over 300 individuals from the US have had a life-changing encounter with Dominicans and Haitians in poor rural communities. The program has built over 50 houses, a rural clinic (and supplied it with medicine), a church, sanitation facilities, a park site, and many green spaces in Dominican communities living in extreme poverty.
Education Across Borders also supports scholarships for talented Dominican students from these communities; at present, more than a dozen students are enrolled in pre-professional university studies, well on their way to breaking the cycle of poverty and dependency in which so many Dominican youths are trapped. EAB, in its mission to "transform communities through relationship," sponsors Dominican-Haitian interchanges and dialog, to work toward healing wounds of racism and nationalism, both in the DR and the US.
John lives with his wife and two children in Seattle, where he is a member of St. Therese Parish; he serves on its Social Justice Commission, and volunteers in its winter overnight shelter.