Sunday, January 22, 2006
The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming
Divakaruni, Chitra. 2005. THE MIRROR OF FIRE AND DREAMING. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 1596430672 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
In this sequel to THE CONCH BEARER, readers find Anand training as an apprentice with the Brotherhood in the Silver Valley. Although he has left his family behind, Anand is happiest near the conch, a powerful and sacred object to the brotherhood. When his teacher, Abhaydatta, disappears, Anand leaves the safety of the valley and enters a realm of powerful and evil forces. Traveling through a time portal opened by a sliver of mirror that Anand is drawn to, he is thrust into an India of 400 years ago in the state of Bengal. Anand experiences life as a servant boy, pulling the heavy punkah fans, and other chores in the palace of the Nawab Nazib, a Muslim king.
Divakaruni’s writing puts the reader in India with Anand. The palace comes alive with vivid descriptions of the lavish setting. “The dining room was oval shaped, and its marble floor glittered with a mosaic of colors. In the center was a beautiful carpet decorated with fantastic beasts. On it, twelve low, carved wooden tables, each set with a gold plate and gold goblets studded with jewels, were arranged in an oval.” The use of imagery enhances this fast-paced adventure tale of good versus evil. An excellent multicultural choice, and a must read for those left wondering at the end of THE CONCH BEARER about Anand’s new life in the Silver Valley.
Encourage readers to pick a foreign locale and research what it was like 300-400 years ago. Have them write a story featuring themselves as part of that environment. What type of person would they most like to be? What job would they least like to have?
Other books by Divakaruni:
THE CONCH BEARER. ISBN 0761327932
Other books featuring India:
Godden, Rumer. PREMLATA AND THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. ISBN 0688151361
Moseley, James. THE NINTH JEWEL OF THE MUGHAL CROWN: THE BIRBAL TALES FROM THE ORAL TRADITIONS OF INDIA. ISBN 0970444710
By Tammy Korns