Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth Video

October 15th, 2017

Mary Mae is played by Jane Ackermann, and the video was made by CuriousCityBooks. (http://visitcuriouscity NULL.wordpress

Praise for Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
 “You’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
“Dutton sensitively navigates the sticky debate between creationism and evolution. . .”
              Publishers Weekly, Starred
“It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.”
              School Library Journal
“Very few books for this age group tackle religious subjects as this one does, in a way that shows respect for all sides.”
              Kirkus Reviews
“I could tell the moment I opened the cover of this book that Sandra Dutton was penning a pitch-perfect tale.”
              David Crumm, (http://www NULL.ReadtheSpirit
“A celebration of the wonderful intricacy of the natural world, with acknowledgment of the different ways people can approach that celebration.”
              Project MUSE, Johns Hopkins University
“Delves into several taboo subjects such as ignorance, hierarchy, religion, and even politics, but in a way that is endearing, captivating, and comprehendible.”
              San Francisco Review of Books
 “[Dutton’s] use of the everyday speech of her characters is rich and pitch perfect, and her theme, that no one as an absolute answer to the questions of life, is crafted with the respect than cna only come with love and the love than can only come with respect.”
“shows the importance of fostering a critical mind.”
              ReadSchmead:  Tales of the Book
“With humor and sensitivity, Sandra Dutton explores the idea that faith and science do not have to be kept separate.”
              Through the Looking Glass
“Provocative in the very best way, this is a brave and timely book that leaves you the better for having read it.”
              Planet Esme
” Sandra Dutton has written a gem of a book.”
              Welcome to My Tweendom
“No matter what kinds of truth you adhere to, and just how long you think this old world of ours has been around, you’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae and her granny–the songs they sing, and their courage in facing up to the fact that there is no mention of trilobites in Mama’s Bible.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
“Dutton has tackled a thorny subject–creationism versus evolution–in a way that treats both arguments with respect by channeling the whole controversy through the inquiring mind of the disarming and delightful Mary Mae.  And that’s the gospel truth!”
             Amy MacDonald, author of Little Beaver and the Echo
“Sandra Dutton demonstrates here that the quest to integrate faith with the fossil record can be a most enriching experience, and that it is never too early to allow our children to experience the joy of integrating their religious beliefs with a solid science education. This is a delightful — but also serious — work. It will appeal to parents, pastors and educators. We need more works like this.”
            John F. Haught, Ph. D. Georgetown University, author of Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life
“Dutton’s brave book sings out the truth with humor and love.”
            Robin MacCready, winner of the Edgar Award and author of Buried.
Nominated for 2012 Ohioana Book Award (http://www NULL.ohioanabookfestival
Nominated to the  “Amelia Bloomer List,” (http://ameliabloomer NULL.wordpress which highlights “books notable for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers.”
Nominated for “Mock Newbery,” Falmouth Library (http://falmouthmemocknewbery NULL.blogspot NULL.html), Falmouth, Maine.

Hudson Children’s Book Festival

April 16th, 2013

HCBF Poster

I’ll be appearing at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Saturday, May 4, 2013, from 10 am to 4 pm, at the Hudson Jr/Sr High School, 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson.

The festival is FREE, with authors’ workshops, musical performances, and hundreds of books to look at.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Mary Mae’s Fossils

December 20th, 2012

A Cigar Box of Fossils

In the photograph at left are fossils like the ones Mary Mae digs up in the book.  The ones in the first two rows were actually found by my brother-in-law at Caesar Creek State Park and are from the Ordovician period, around 450 million years ago.

The three in the first row are bryozoans.  In the second row, left to right, are a brachiopod, the tip of a cephalopod’s tentacle, another brachiopod, then a horned coral.  The two on the top are a crinoid and a trilobite, which I made myself out of clay for the book trailer.  If you click at the box on the right, you can watch the book trailer and see those two clay models in Mary Mae’s hand.

MMGT Nominated for Ohioana Book Award

May 16th, 2012

Just learned that Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth has been nominated for an Ohioana Literary Award.

“The Ohioana Book Awards began in 1942 to bring state and national attention to Ohio authors and their books. Each year, up to six awards may be given to provide recognition and encouragement to authors for outstanding books in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Juvenile Books, Poetry, and About Ohio or an Ohioan.”

Very exciting!

Sandra Dutton at Hudson Children’s Book Festival

April 18th, 2012



I’ll be at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival (http://hudsonchildrensbookfestival NULL.php?menuid=06 NULL.) Saturday, May 5, at the Hudson Junior and Senior High school from 10am to 4 pm in Hudson, New York, and Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth  will be my featured book.  Can’t wait!  I’ll be doing  a workshop on making “trilobite puppets.”

Paper Bag Puppets


New Lamb on Dancing Lamb Farm

April 15th, 2012
Friday I saw a lamb being born, the first of many in the next two weeks on Dancing Lamb Farm.

New Lamb a Moorit

Norwood High School Hall of Fame

October 6th, 2011
Sandra Dutton, Crowne Plaza Hotel

Recently I was inducted into my Norwood, Ohio, high school’s “Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.”  It was an exciting day with first a tour of the middle school (my old high school building), then the new high school, with its planetarium and TV station.   At an assembly in the auditorium students introduced the honorees–a scientist who’s written widely on herpetology, a nuclear engineer, a musician, a military advisor to presidents, and posthumously, Vera-Ellen the dancer-singer-movie star, who also attended Norwood High School.  In the evening we had a formal induction in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blue Ash, Cincinnati.  To the left you see me making an acceptance speech, describing some of my favorite teachers.  (I never like to stay behind the podium if I can grab a microphone and move around.)  It was a lovely day, an honor to be recognized, and I enjoyed seeing many old friends.

Trilobites and Genesis: A 10-Year-Old’s Questions

March 8th, 2011
Trilobites & Trilobite Puppets

Come to Maine Festival of the Book (http://mainereads Saturday, April 2 at the Abromson Center, University of Southern Maine.  I’ll be discussing growing up in Norwood, Ohio, and how it informed my novel, “the acclaimed (and controversial)”  Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.   Learn about trilobites, the Cincinnati Arch, and how to make trilobite puppets out of paper bags.   Recommended for ages 8-12, and those who teach them.

Sandra Dutton Reads from “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”

February 15th, 2011

People have asked me why I wrote this story in Appalachian English.   First, I grew up in southern Ohio where many families from Eastern Kentucky lived, and many of them spoke the way Mary Mae speaks.   Her family is from Eastern Kentucky.   It is also the language of many fundamentalist preachers, the ones I heard on the radio, and still hear, when I’m in Southern Ohio or Eastern Kentucky.   

Driftwood at Falls of the Ohio

My choice of language wasn’t something I debated as I worked–it just came–I liked the voice of Mary Mae, and it seemed appropriate for the story.  I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes, especially science.   When her mother insists that the world is only 6000 years old, that the Lord put fossils in the ground as “a test,”  Mary Mae thinks to herself, “But if Mama’s right, the Lord had to mix up a whole lot of dirt all different colors and drop them shells in like nuts in cookie batter.”

I was also influenced by my maternal grandparents, who lived in Springfield, Missouri, and spoke Ozark English, which is similar to Appalachian English.  (For more on this, go to my entry “On Voice.”)

Many people have told me how much they enjoy hearing the story read aloud and have urged me to put an excerpt on my blog, so here it is, a short (one-minute)

Reading from Chapter 7, “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”.  

“Mary Mae” Good for Science Education

January 18th, 2011

Good news!  Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth is now for sale on the National Council for Science Education (NCSE) website (http://ncse  Reviewing the book for RNCSE, David C. Kopaska-Merkel writes, “One thing I like about this book is its delivery through the persona of a child who is both passionate about her church and about science. She doesn’t reject either aspect of her life. She is as excited about the puppet show her Sunday School class is doing as about her interview with a trilobite for a school assignment.”

NCSE, National Center for Science Education. Defending the Teaching of Evolution in Public Schools. (http://ncse