“In his latest book, Daniel T. Reese and the Prophet King, author Jesse Edward Corralez calls the reader on a journey that challenges modern ideology of the life of a young Jesus Christ. The author of Brothers Mine: As Told by Lucifer, Uriah: Earth, Second Time, and South of Baton Rouge, among other titles, builds on the known details of Jesus’s youth and the imaginatively expands them by introducing twelve-year-old Daniel T. Reese into the mix.”
One day during summer vacation, Daniel and a group of his friends are enjoying the day by skateboarding in their neighborhood. When Daniel attempts to jump a curb, he soon finds himself taking flight. His injuries include trauma to the head, and the young boy lapses into a coma, leaving his family, friends, and doctor concerned about when he will wake up. Unbeknownst to his loved ones, Daniel does awake from his coma but in the middle of a busy road in Nazareth. A concerned man named Joseph encourages the boy to retreat before a fast-approaching wagon pulled by a donkey runs him over. Once he is safe, a confused Daniel thanks Joseph. The boy doesn’t remember how he got to Nazareth and has trouble recalling many details about his life. Joseph takes him home to his family and offers Daniel a place there until he regains his memory. He introduces Daniel to his wife, Mary; his daughter, Salome; and his sons, Jesus and James. The friendship that Daniel forms with Jesus, who is also twelve, is the core of the story.
As children are prone to do, Daniel and Jesus teach each other games (Daniel introduces Jesus and his friends to baseball, and the Nazarene children teach Daniel their version of football) and unfamiliar words. However, unlike most childhood friendships, Daniel and Jesus’s relationship involves contemplation of Jesus’s message that people should take care of each other and forgo judgment. He shares this message not only with the elders in the Temple of Jerusalem, but also with groups of children in Nazareth and wandering desert people who camp outside of the village.
“Corralez presents Jesus as a quiet, mild-mannered boy but also as a budding young man who is inquisitive and determined. His sense of purpose and desire to share lessons of love are so strong even Daniel, who suffers from side effects of his brain injury throughout the story, feels that he knows something of Jesus from the life that he cannot fully recall. The juxtaposition of the happy-go-lucky Daniel and the serious but adventurous Jesus offers the reader a lighter view of Jesus that fleshes out his humanity.”
“Daniel T. Reese and the Prophet King expresses a message of basic kindness that does not require adherence to any specific religion but simply a full acknowledgement of one’s humanity. Telling the story of the young prophet king through the perspective of children does not soften the message of the golden rule; instead, it deepens that message and encourages even the oldest among us to open our hearts to this fundamental approach to life” (Melissa Brown Levine, senior editor and owner, Brown Levine Productions, MelissaBrownLevine.com).
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