Shiva's Fire

Staples, Suzanne Fisher

Published by Thorndike Press
ISBN 10: 0786229020 / ISBN 13: 9780786229024
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Synopsis: Parvati has always been different from the other children of her village in southern India. Some villagers think she has supernatural powers, but her talent for dancing is what really sets her apart. She leaves home and family to attend a special school in Madras, devoting herself to the study of Indian classical dance under a famous guru. But after coming into contact with a boy whose abilities are as special as her own, she questions her personal dharma or fate.

Review: Born during the worst storm ever seen by her small village in India, Parvati is both blessed and cursed with mysterious powers that confound her people. Wild animals flock to her; she is able to charm fish, birds, even deadly cobras. But Parvati's truly exceptional talent is her ability to dance like the Hindu god Shiva himself. At age 6, she hurls herself into a cooking fire and dances safely through the flames, emerging without a single burn. Naturally, these powers scare the other villagers. Only her mother Meenakshi loves and believes in her, protecting her from the their curious and hostile stares. The guru Pillai, a famous Indian dance teacher, hears of Parvati's talent and comes to offer her a position in his dance school, or "gurukulam," in the large city of Madras. Once there, she questions her destiny, or "dharma," as she experiences both a devastating loss and a blossoming romance; "...she thought about the mystery of dharma--how some things were very difficult to accept, while others opened as simply and as naturally as a flower." But through it all, the fire of Shiva burns within her, and Parvati knows that, despite all other callings, she was born to dance.

Suzanne Fisher Staples, renowned author of the award-winning Shabanu and Dangerous Skies, has woven together a magical tapestry of a tale that is a mystical hybrid of history and legend. At a time when teenage girls have more options than ever when choosing their own destinies, Parvati's story will inspire readers to set high goals and settle for nothing less than their true heart's desire. An instant classic. (Ages 12 to 14) --Jennifer Hubert

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Title: Shiva's Fire
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine

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