The Lost Continent by Tui T. Sutherland is the 11th book in the Wings of Fire series.
Synopsis (From Amazon): Blue the SilkWing is content. Life in his Hive is safe; he loves his family; he has enough to eat. And Pantala has been at peace for as long as he can remember — SilkWings and HiveWings live and work together in harmony, and because they stay vigilant, no one has seen a dangerous LeafWing in years. Now that Blue’s sister, Luna, is undergoing her Metamorphosis, Blue knows things are going to change. Luna will have her wings and her silk, be assigned a partner and a work order, and move to another Hive. A few days later, Blue’s own wings and silk will come in. But nothing could prepare Blue for what happens when Luna’s wings start to grow. Suddenly his world is turned upside down, throwing him into dangers he never knew existed. Pantala isn’t as peaceful as it seems, and Blue isn’t safe. Whether he’s ready or not, it’s time to adapt — and fight for his life.
Parental Thoughts: This is another post from the Wings of Fire series. My daughter loves these books. She talks about them and draws dragon characters often. Here are my other two: first five books and Darkstalker.
This book introduces us to three new species in the Wings of Fire world. These three species do not live in harmony and are not encouraged to interact with each other. The Silkwings are the working dragons. The Hivewings are military and control the lives of the Silkwings. The Leafwings are supposedly extinct from the last war.
In the plot, one Silkwing, one Hivewing, and one Leafwing have to trust and work in harmony. These three dragons learn that stereotypes are wrong, and identity politics fail. The book contains these types of thoughts throughout, “I never knew a Hivewing/Silkwing/Leafwing would be … or would do …” etc.
With my daughter, we discussed judging people or using stereotypes based on an identity or group. It seems our society encourages if we are a member of a group, then we must pay the price for something we didn’t personally do, but the actions of someone else in our group. We can never truly be close with someone in a different group if, at some point in time, our groups had conflict. The problem is we can always be divided into smaller groups, and pretty soon we are all in conflict with each other, and there will always be a reason to be angry with someone even when we have never had any interaction.
The truth is we are all individuals and are only responsible for our own actions. The only identity we all should recognize in each other is our identity as a child of God, our humanity. We will be judged based on our own actions. What we, individually, did to help others.
Mt. 25:35-36, 40: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me’. And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Notice the emphasis on all the yous! Jesus calls each of us to do these things personally.
I have heard many times, “What have Christians done to help (insert any social justice case)? It is the wrong question. It should be, “What have you done?” I think too many times we look to organizations to make a change and thus giving money to organizations is doing something. While there is a place and need for this, it shouldn’t be the end. We as individuals need to change the world, not organizations. Personal interactions will increase charity as we grow to love each other as individual humans.
The characters in this book learned to judge a person based on their own individual actions and not based on a dragon’s species. Ultimately, it was their friendship and love for each other that allowed them to sacrifice and fight for each other.
I asked my daughter what her takeaway was from the book. She said, “I should stand up for myself and fight for who I am. I cannot let people determine where I belong or who I am, but I need to show them.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lot to say on social justice, human community, and love of neighbor. If interested, I recommend reading paragraphs: 1877-1948, 2196-2330, and 2401-2557.
Here are two that drive personal responsibility (emphasis added):
1877: The vocation of humanity is to show forth the image of God and to be transformed into the image of the Father’s only Son. This vocation takes a personal form since each of us is called to enter into the divine beatitude.
2442: It is not the role of the Pastors of the Church to intervene directly in the political structuring and organization of social life. This task is part of the vocation of the lay faithful, acting on their own initiative with their fellow citizens. Social action can assume various concrete forms. It should always have the common good in view and be in conformity with the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church. It is the role of the laity “to animate temporal realities with Christian commitment, by which they show that they are witnesses and agents of peace and justice.