Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ask-the-Librarian Blog: LA Public

I'm blogging today at LL-Publications blog, my semi-monthly Ask-the-Librarian post. This month it's on Los Angeles Public Library, my first in a Famous Libraries series. Pop on over if you have time.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Review Club: Soul Survivor

by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, with Ken Gross
Grand Central Publishing, 2009

This is the story of a little boy with verifiable past life memories, and it's mindboggling. James Leininger started having intense, screaming nightmares when he was two years old. His parents, Bruce & Andrea, didn't know what to do to make the nightmares stop, but they paid attention and realized that he was screaming, night after night: Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can't get out! When they asked him who the little man was, he said 'me'.

Even at age two, James was obsessed with airplanes and strangely knowledgeable about them. The details he came up with about the doomed pilot were eerie: his name was also James, he'd flown Corsairs, and his ship was the Natoma. He even identified a crew member by name. Bruce went online (this started in 2000, so the web wasn't as sophisticated as it is now) and started to look for answers to what his son was saying. He learned there was a WWII aircraft carrier in the Pacific theater called the Natoma Bay. It took a lot of searching and digging, but they were able to verify everything James said. The paperback copy I bought has photos of the ship and some of the men who served on it as well as pictures of James and his drawings.

At first the book reads like a paranormal detective story. As the pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, it becomes an emotional and spiritual journey for James's parents and for the reader. Bruce, a devout Christian, fought hard against the idea that his son was remembering a past life, so we get the skeptic's point of view. Bruce became an expert on the Natoma Bay, even attending the annual reunions and getting to know the vets and their surviving family members. But in the end, it was all about James. The ending is very emotional and heart-warming.

This is just an amazing story about a remarkable little boy, his loving and determined parents and the veterans and family of the Natoma Bay. If you already believe in reincarnation, this book will reinforce those beliefs. If not, it will give you something to think about. We may never be able to prove reincarnation one way or another, but James's memories provide compelling evidence for the theory of past lives. In any case, his story will touch your heart and soul.


Note: If any of this sounds familiar, you may have seen the story that aired on ABC's Prime Time on April 15, 2004. You can view it here:

Related article: Child Psychiatrist Says Past-Life Memories Not So Uncommon in Kids

Related books (all available from

Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child by Carol Bowman, Bantam, 1998

Life Before Life: Children's Memories of Previous Lives by Dr. Jim Tucker, St. Martin's Press, 2008

Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives by Tom Shroder, Simon and Schuster, 1999, pbk 2001

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