Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
About the author
Caroline Pignat graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religious Studies. After working with children and youth for over fifteen years in roles such as teacher, seminar facilitator, mentor and coach, she began her writing career. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children regularly appear in Highlights for Children, Guideposts for Kids, Living Faith for Kids, and Clubhouse Magazine.
"Pignat uses titled poetic recountings to tell this story from the perspectives of six characters, cleverly distinguishing each one's voice in the first person. Although Phoebe is mute with an old soul, her vocabulary and inner landscape are rich, her descriptions colourful. . . Young readers are drawn into the brutal and callous world that surrounds Phoebe but does not crush her gentle spirit."
— Canadian Children's Book News
"Hope, bravery and kindness shine from characters in desperate circumstances. With flowing text that will be devoured by reluctant readers and subject matter fit for class discussion, The Gospel Truth is a powerful read."
— CLA Young Adult Book Award Jury
"Stunning and heartbreaking, this poignant novel in verse is a searing portrait of a time and place, 1858 on a southern tobacco plantation where the Master struggles to hold on to the legacy "not people, they're negroes." In poetry that is spare and beautiful, Pignat carefully, exquisitely depicts the reality of that time and of those lives. Here, the things that are left unsaid are as powerful as the harsh and simple truths that are clearly stated. The verse format serves this story well in Pignat's hands. In addition to using this format, she has also chosen to tell the story from multiple perspectives, providing an even more nuanced and multifaceted perspective. Readers are able to see how differently these individuals interpret truth, and even freedom; how each one — in their own way — struggles to do what they perceive to be the right thing; how each person's secrets, hopes and dreams are part of a larger picture. The Gospel Truth is an intricately and beautifully woven story whose characters are vividly and authentically depicted. Each voice is succinctly captured, and the story that the author tells is a realistic rendering of a piece of history that reveals timeless truths about humanity and the indomitable nature of the human spirit."
— CM Magazine
"The power of Caroline Pignat's words would compel me to cite so much of her text. She has the gift for novel in verse, not simply writing prose in verse form. Just as a good novelist doesn't tell everything, allowing the reader to interpret, surmise and read into the text, a great writer of novel in verse tells even more in fewer words. Pamela Porter, Martine Leavitt and now Caroline Pignat. As for the story, think The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill in free verse for younger readers and with more soul. A perfect bundle of story, voice and form?that's The Gospel Truth."
— CanLit for LittleCanadians