Inspired by the author's trip to India's Andaman Islands, where she had "passing contact with an ancient mode of life that pulses with its own special beauty," this lovely novel introduces readers to a fictional island tribe that has practiced the same customs for thousands of years. Fifteen-year-old Uido is blessed with the ability to visit spirits in the "Otherworld" through dreams and see into the future. She will become the next spiritual leader of the En-ge people, but first must undergo a rigorous apprenticeship with the wise Lah-ame, during which Uido learns lessons in healing and meditation that test her courage and faith. But no amount of mentoring can prepare Uido for her first great challenge: protecting her people from intruders, whose "magic," greed, and diseases threaten to destroy her people. Offering an enticing blend of mystic traditions and imaginative speculation, Venkatraman (Climbing the Stairs) beautifully expresses a primitive tribe's connection to nature and their struggle to find safety in the 21st century. Uido's strength, compassion, and commitment should win respect and spur discussions on the casualties of imperialism. Ages 10–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011 Release date: 08/01/2011 Genre: Children's
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