Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr - ADVISABLE

Orr, Wendy Dragonfly Song, 393 pages.  Pajama Press, 2017.  $18.  Content: PG (some injuries, some bullying)

Aissa lives as a slave in the house of the Lady of their island. She has not spoken a word since her mother told her to be silent and to hide from the raiders until she returned.  But Mother never came back and now Aissa is taunted and teased and is considered the lowest of the island, and even bad luck.  She doesn’t know, however, that she is actually the Lady’s unwanted, supposedly cursed daughter.  Though she was supposed to be killed, instead Kelya, the Lady’s handmaid, gave her to the fisher couple to raise as their own.  The whole island was upended, however, when the Bull King claims them as his own. Each year they must send a large tribute, which includes a girl and a boy to perform in his annual games.  This year Aissa is old enough to train.  Though she was not selected, she feels that it is her destiny to go – how the gods will arrange that, she knows not.

At first I was thinking, well, let’s get Aissa to the Bull King’s land and get her into training already, but by the end, I was glad that I was able to connect with Aissa through knowing about her and her struggles – that made the triumph all that sweeter.  Aissa’s story will not be the kind of book where students pick it up and share it with each other.  Only a few students at this level are emotionally mature enough as readers to appreciate her story.  What should happen is teachers need to read this and adopt it to read together as a class.  With the poetry of Aissa’s thoughts combined with all of the other elements of story, this would be a rich classroom experience.  

EL, MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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