Archive for the ‘Creation’ Category

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth Video

Sunday, 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.

Mary Mae’s Fossils

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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


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

Tuesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

“A Theme Park Based on Science Could Be a Real Inspiration” by Sandra Dutton

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Following is my op-ed piece that was published December 7 in the Cincinnati Enquirer (http://news NULL.cincinnati NULL.dll/article?AID=/AB/20101207/EDIT02/12070339/):

Does anyone remember the Disneyland ride “Adventure through Inner Space”?  It was featured in Tomorrowland from 1967-1985.  It was my favorite theme park ride ever.

We boarded small cars called Atom-Mobiles and rode through the end of a microscope into darkness, until we saw snowflakes whirling. A narrator informed us that we were going on a journey in which we would be “shrinking beyond the smallness of a tiny snowflake crystal.”

The snowflakes became larger until it was obvious they were not solid, but lattice-like structures.  And we shrunk down to the size of a water molecule, with fuzzy spheres whirling around us—atoms.  Eventually we saw the large, pulsating ball of the nucleus and were told we had pierced the wall of the oxygen atom.

The ride had the magic of science fiction, yet was pure science.

When I heard the Creation Museum was planning a theme park, I thought of this ride, and how technology could be used to illustrate the Big Bang.  Of course that’s not going to happen, since Answers in Genesis believes a six-day creation, 6000 years ago, and is planning on featuring Noah’s Ark.  But how exciting it would be to visit a creation theme park based on science.  Here are some rides I would love to take:

The Big Bang Particle-Mobile—We would board a small, round car that would whirl us through space at the speed of light, particles becoming atoms, atoms becoming molecules, molecules becoming stars.  We would pass through an incredible light show seeing galaxies form, some stars exploding into supernovas, all the while a narrator telling us what’s going on and how many millions of years are passing.  (Sort of the reverse of the atom-mobile.)


Armored Fish Submarine—the submarine itself would be a Dunkleosteus, an armored fish from the Devonian period.  We would float among the sealife—mollusks, trilobites, brachiopods, corals, sponges, eventually seeing an early fish, the Tiktaalik, crawl out on land.

Tunnel of Pterodactyls—a scary, spookhouse sort of ride where early birds would come shrieking out of the darkness.

The Quantum Fun House—This would be a “walk-through” filled with lights, mirrors, and clever construction, where you could be two places at once, a particle and a wave, and end in a gravity-free room where you could bounce off the walls.

Jurassic Monorail—(sort of like the movie) From the comfort of your seat you could see the Dilophosaurus and the Ceratosaurus cavort.

Australopithecus at Work—passengers on a bamboo raft (with safety rails)  would float by several camps of early man, the Australopithecus, Peking, Java, Neanderthal, all of them engaged in activity—killing an animal, making mocassins, preparing dinner.

These are just a few ideas, and this is to say nothing of the different kinds of “lands” you could create.  But to visit such a park would be astonishing, exhilarating, awe-inspiring!  What’s more, it would be based on science.

A Review by “The Clever Badger”

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

For a very interesting review on Mary Mae on the Gospel Truth, go to The Clever Badger (http://www NULL.cleverbadger 

Proposed Creation Theme Park

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Is the world really just 6000 years old?

Here’s an excerpt from an excellent editorial on the proposed Creation Museum theme park in northern Kentucky:

“. . .in a state that already suffers from low educational attainment in science, one of the last things Kentucky officials should encourage, even if only implicitly, is for students and young people to regard creationism as scientifically valid. Creationism is a nonsensical notion that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old.

No serious scientist upholds that view, and sophisticated analysis of the Earth’s minerals and meteorite deposits generally lead to an estimate that the planet is about 4.5 billion years old. Furthermore, creationism teaches that the Earth (including humans) was created in six days, thus rejecting the well-established science of evolution.”

For a link to the full editorial, in the Louisville Courier-Journal, click here (http://www NULL.courier-journal

Glossary for “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Two Trilobites and Other Early Sea Life

I’ve been wanting to make a glossary for MMGT for some time, so here are the first 10 entries, and if you click at the bottom, or go to “Pages,” you can find the rest.

Adam and Eve—the first man and woman, according to Genesis.  God created Adam first, out of the dust of the ground, and then he made Eve, from Adam’s rib.

Autoharp—a musical instrument with 15-20 strings and a box-like structure that the musician strums. 

Beatitudes—blessings bestowed by Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” is one of the beatitudes.

begat—fathered a child or children, as in, “Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob and Esau.”

benediction—a final prayer, usually at a church service.

brachiopods—marine animals with hard shells that are alive now and have ancestors that appeared during the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Carboniferous ages.

Cain and Abel—in Genesis, the first two children of Adam and Eve.  Cain became jealous of Abel and killed him.

Cincinnati Arch—a geological formation in what is now the Cincinnati area that pushed the Ordovician layer up to the surface.  (See July 4 blog entry).

coral—early sea animals with a plant-like shape, prevalent in the Ordovician age.

Creation—In the Bible, God is said to have created the earth and its creatures in six days.  Fundamentalists believe this happened 6000 years ago.   Mainstream scientists believe the universe began with just one particle that kept expanding (as described by Miss Sizemore) 14-15 billion years ago.   (see Glossary)