The Gist: In a land where prophecies must always come to pass, a young carpet seller defies all odds to meet, fall in love, and fight for the privilege to marry a princess.
Story Review: Abdullah, a young carpet seller, meets Flower-in-the-Night, a sheltered but highly intelligent princess and in true storybook fashion the two immediately fall in love. After Flower-in-the-Night is abducted by a djinn, Abdullah is determined to get her back. In his quest Abdullah finds that everything is not always as black-and-white as a simple prophecy and while being flexible can gain good things, he must also trust himself to make the right decisions.
I liked the very different setting and perspective of this book, although it greatly reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy in a Westerner’s take on Middle Eastern culture (specifically the judgement on how marriage is viewed). Overall though I liked that this book introduced me to a world of fantastical creatures that us Westerners don’t really see (although this past year I’ve been hearing lots about djinns). I also loved how Abdullah doesn’t seem to notice that the more he bends over backward to accommodate others, the crankier and often less helpful he is.
Immersion Activity Ideas:
Go to a bazaar/open air market
Visit a large flower or botanical garden
Plant a flower garden (Bonus points if you use a lot of bluebells.)
Relax, take in a sunset and play the “What does this cloud look like?” game
Travel to foreign countries (But unlike the book, do not be xenophobic.)