Leyla: The Black Tulip (Girls of Many Lands Series)

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Overview

Life in the Topkapi Palace harem follows its own rules and rhythms, and twelve-year-old newcomer Leyla has much to learn about this hidden world of women. When she reveals her skills as a gardener, Leyla is assigned to work with the Mistress of the Flowers. In the harem gardens, Leyla secretly plants the tulip bulbs she has brought from her home in the Caucasus Mountains -- a reminder of the life she's left behind. If the bulbs are discovered, will there be trouble? ...
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Overview

Life in the Topkapi Palace harem follows its own rules and rhythms, and twelve-year-old newcomer Leyla has much to learn about this hidden world of women. When she reveals her skills as a gardener, Leyla is assigned to work with the Mistress of the Flowers. In the harem gardens, Leyla secretly plants the tulip bulbs she has brought from her home in the Caucasus Mountains -- a reminder of the life she's left behind. If the bulbs are discovered, will there be trouble?

While trying to help her financially destitute family, twelve-year-old Leyla ends up on a slave ship bound for Istanbul, and then in the beautiful Topkapi Palace, where she discovers that life in the sheltered world of the palace harem follows its own rigid rules and rhythms and offers her unexpected opportunities during Turkey's brief Tulip Period of the 1720's.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Leyla's family has fallen on hard times and sold nearly all their belongings to survive. Her father, Aslan, went to war to be a war painter and hasn't returned. As her family's situation gets worse, foreigners offer Leyla's family money in exchange for sending her to Istanbul for a marriage. Leyla's mother refuses, but Leyla decides she must go to help her family. Leyla arrives in Istanbul only to find that she is to be a slave. Later, a man named Sumbul Aga buys Leyla and takes her to his Topkapi Palace. Leyla is sent to work in the Palace's harem gardens because of her gift for gardening; she also becomes a painting teacher for a princess and her brother. While painting, Leyla hears a familiar voice. It is her father! They meet at once, and he explains that he has been granted amnesty by Sumbul Aga and is to return home. Leyla and her father say goodbye, and she awaits seeing her family. This is an excellent young adult novel about sacrifices and making the best of less-than-ideal situations. One of the "Girls of Many Lands" series published by the Pleasant Company, which also publishes the very popular "American Girl" series, this novel allows readers to learn about other lands and cultures. 2003, Pleasant Company Publications, Ages 9 to 12.
— Amy Aldridge
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A lush adventure tale set in 1720. Another winter is settling in the Caucasus, and Laleena's artist father is missing. In his absence, the girl helps support her family by growing what food she can. She practices her own artwork and discovers that she has a way with growing rare and highly prized tulips. Nevertheless, it is not enough. To keep her family from starving, she enters a marriage deal, but finds herself instead in the hold of a slave ship bound for Istanbul. Fortunately, she is sold into the harem of the ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. At Topkapi Palace, she is given a new identity as Leyla and apprenticed to the Mistress of the Flowers. Evocative descriptions abound: of the history of the tulips, of the riches and demands of harem life, and of the strange demeanor of the eunuchs who guard the women. Leyla cannot avoid courting trouble-she commits the unforgivable Muslim sin of drawing reproductions of nature; the perfect work of Allah is not to be reproduced by human hands. But her creative skills soon gain the beneficent attentions of one of the Sultan's wives and a young prince. Leyla's adventures may stretch credibility, but the friendships and intrigues, and the glimpses of court manners, customs, and history make Black Tulip an entertaining, informative, and vivid read.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584857495
  • Publisher: American Girl Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/15/2003
  • Series: Girls of Many Lands Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.38 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Georgia 1
2 The First Tulips 5
3 Growing Tulips 9
4 The Strangers 14
5 The Daring Choice 21
6 Voyage to Istanbul 27
7 City of the World's Desire 39
8 The Poet's Gift 46
9 Master Hyacinth 53
10 Beyond the Gate of Felicity 58
11 Leyla 67
12 The Mistress of the Gardens 76
13 Harem Life 80
14 Winter 91
15 The Royal Halvet 96
16 The Most Beautiful Clothes 114
17 The Hall of the Sultan 118
18 The Secret Paintings 125
19 The Dark Prison 133
20 Princess Fatma 140
21 Anticipation 147
22 The Miracle 155
23 Heart's Desire 168
Then and Now 183
Glossary 190
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    ONE OF MY FAV BOOKS!!!

    I have to say that this one of the best books I've read so far.While reading this,I found that Leyla reminded me alot of myself.And with the tone the author used while writing this book,Leyla's dialogue seemed so realistic. And of course,I highly recommend this book ='

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2004

    A really great book!!

    Leyla, A young girl who accidentally sells herself into slavery , is reunited with her lost father and finds her true destiny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2003

    Leyla is really good!

    Leyla is one of my favorite books! It was a really good story! I love learning abot her time period and I'm also studying Islam in history so this book let me see it through Leyla's eyes. I loved it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    Good story!

    This is a good story. When Leyla's, 12, father leaves home for war she and her twin brother must plant crops for money. But that isn't enough. Leyla tries to deal with the marrage brokers but then she realizes that she's been sold into a harem slave instead! In the segreted world of women in Istanbul Leyla finds her true destiny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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