The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming (Brotherhood of the Conch Series #2)

( 3 )

Overview

In a pristine valley hidden in the Himalayas, Anand has a disturbing vision. His mentor and spiritual guide, the Master Healer Abhaydatta, is apparently in grave danger. What should he do? If he conveys this information to his elders, he'll waste precious time. But is it wise to take matters into his own hands?

Anand makes his choice and embarks on a spectacular adventure that takes him not only across contemporary India but also several hundred years into the past to the time ...

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Overview

In a pristine valley hidden in the Himalayas, Anand has a disturbing vision. His mentor and spiritual guide, the Master Healer Abhaydatta, is apparently in grave danger. What should he do? If he conveys this information to his elders, he'll waste precious time. But is it wise to take matters into his own hands?

Anand makes his choice and embarks on a spectacular adventure that takes him not only across contemporary India but also several hundred years into the past to the time of the Moghul rulers. There he encounters powerful sorcerers, a haughty and arrogant prince, and a jinn capable of unspeakable magic.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In a remote valley high in the Himalayas, young Arand experiences a terrifying vision revealing that his beloved mentor, Master Healer Abhaydatta, is in grave danger. Unable to wait for wiser counsel, Arand leaves immediately on a frantic mission to save his spiritual guide. His journey leads him across the Indian Subcontinent and deep into the Moghul past. This linchpin volume of the Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy is an enthralling fantasy adventure read for boys and girls, ages 8 to 12.
From the Publisher
"Fans of The Conch Bearer will be every bit as riveted to this sequel." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Offers the flavors, sounds, sights, and stories of past and present Bengal....Fans will be looking for another adventure, promised to follow." — School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Fans of The Conch Bearer will be every bit as riveted to this sequel, which opens in the Silver Valley of the Himalayas, where Anand and Nisha have begun their studies to become a Master Healer like their friend and mentor, Abhaydatta. Just when Anand is feeling less skillful than the other apprentices, he has a vision: a woman tells him that the people from her village are disappearing into the forest "and when they come back, they are changed. Often they don't remember who they are." The council of healers dispatches Abhaydatta to look into the matter, but Anand has further visions that his friend is in trouble, and enlists Nisha and the conch to help him. During their transport, the three become separated, and Anand must find them as well as Abhaydatta, and get to the source of the evil described by the woman in his vision. Along with her characters, the author sends readers back in time to an era in India when shahzadas (Muslim princes) ruled; she details their breathtaking finery and endless courses of food, brought by servants in turbans. The mirror of the title holds the key link between past and present, but it also takes on another layer of meaning in Anand's gradual self-realization. Divakaruni here makes India's past as immediate as its present, with characters that readers will surely want to follow through to the next and final book in the trilogy. Ages 8-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
At the opening of this sequel to the author's first fantasy for young readers, The Conch Bearer, Anand, now Keeper of the Conch, finds himself in training. In the beautiful Silver Valley, he enters his new life as an apprentice with the Brotherhood of Healers. The food is fabulous and the sweeper girl, Nisha—his companion in the earlier stage of his quest—seems utterly absorbed by the delights of this new life. We know, of course, that this will change, and it does. The scene in which Anand first realizes that Abhaydatta is in danger is a well-crafted turning point, all the more interesting for being set against the green fields and scented slopes of Himalayan foothills. Picking up the pace, Anand and Nisha are both transported in different ways to an alternate reality of Bengal in the days of the Nawabs, when rival princes battle for land and power and the East India Company is petitioning for extensions of treaties. Against this backdrop, Anand must face a dark and powerful figure in a cause larger than his own wants and needs. Nisha, in this other world, faces a choice of her own, although her character seems shadowed here, in contrast to her vitality in the first book. Divakaruni conveys a world view traditional to children's fantasy, in which good and evil are clearly defined and we know whose side we are supposed to be on. Epic figures are drawn from a multiplicity of traditions. The mirror itself seems part Palantir, part oracle, capable of becoming a fluid pathway between worlds. Some relationships are unexpected and tender, such as Anand's connection with the elephant Matangi. Middle books in trilogies are always difficult to pull off. Despite the magic pearlsand portals, and the presence of evil, this one is a gently-paced story driven by setting and character. 2005, Roaring Brook, Ages 8 to 12.
—Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In this sequel to The Conch Bearer (Roaring Brook, 2003), Anand and Nisha have just begun their schooling in magic when their mentor, Abhaydatta, is sent on a dangerous mission. Impatient to help, the kids and the conch leave the Silver Valley illicitly through a time/space portal (the mirror of the title) to help a contemporary Indian village escape the clutches of a spirit-sucking jinn that lurks in the forest. The focus is on the males, especially Anand, though Nisha and a wise-woman provide some help. Once again, evil is seeking a magic token that will give it dominance (shades of Tolkien's Ring). Anand travels still farther into the past, finding himself in a Mogul palace pretty much on his own. Seasoned with generous helpings of Hindi words (almost always explained in context), Divakaruni's novel offers the flavors, sounds, sights, and stories of past and present Bengal. The description of a jinn is masterly, and the values (don't run away; think for yourself; don't expect to be good at everything; use kindness and humility, not force) are solid, but unexceptionable. LeGuin appears to have been another influence, but to the good. In this fast-paced story, perhaps the young prince Mahabet changes too quickly to be convincing, but Anand remains a character of some depth, and he does the most growing here. Although this is the second book, it is self-contained. Fans will be looking for another adventure, promised to follow.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Though he's been greatly honored by being made keeper of the magical conch (The Conch Bearer, 2003), Anand feels worthless in his apprenticeship in the Silver Valley. The other apprentices-even his closest friend Nisha-all understand magic that eludes him. Worse, when Anand divines a mysterious evil lurking in a remote Indian village, he is not selected to accompany his beloved mentor Abhaydatta on a rescue mission. Anand and Nisha sneak out of the Silver Valley to help, and find Abhaydatta missing and a wicked magician sucking the souls from helpless villagers. Only by going 400 years into the past, to a lavishly described Mughal palace, can Anand rescue his friends and defeat the magician. Disguised as a punkah boy in the home of a powerful Muslim nawab, Anand has few allies: Nisha's lost her memory and the conch its strength. When Anand goes through enough personal growth, the conch gains power and can save the day. A stock plot given life by the appealing, unusual and lovingly detailed setting. (Fantasy. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416917687
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Series: Brotherhood of the Conch Series , #2
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 829,233
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of many books, including The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, and One Amazing Thing. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Born in India, she currently lives in Texas and teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the University of Houston.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Divakaruni:

"During graduate school, I used to work in the kitchen of the International House at the University of California, Berkeley. My favorite task was slicing Jell-O."

"I love Chinese food, but my family hates it. So when I'm on book tour I always eat Chinese!"

"I almost died on a pilgrimage trip to the Himalayas some years back -- but I got a good story out of it. The story is in The Unknown Errors of Our Lives -- let's see if readers can figure out which one it is!"

"Writing is so central to my life that it leaves little time/desire/need for other interests.. I do a good amount of work with domestic violence organizations -- I'm on the advisory board of Asians Against Domestic Violence in Houston. I feel very strongly about trying to eradicate domestic violence from our society."

"My favorite ways to unwind are to do yoga, read, and spend time with my family."

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    1. Hometown:
      Houston, Texas, and San Jose, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 29, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Kolkata, India
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Kolkata University 1976; Ph.D. in English, University of California at Berkeley, 1984
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Introduction

ABOUT THE BOOK

In The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, the second adventure of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy, Anand is an apprentice healer. When he gets a vision that his mentor, Abhaydatta, is in trouble, he disobeys all advice and rules and goes off to set things right. While it seems he is making a rash decision, the conch agrees to help him, confirming that his decision is the correct one and that he, with the help of Nisha, is the only one who can save Abhaydatta and defeat the evil forces.

Anand's quest is filled with challenges and missteps, failures and successes, and many difficult choices along the way, which all offer subjects for thought and discussion. The questions below are meant to help you get the conversations going.

As you read The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, you are going to come across many words used in India with which you may be unfamiliar. For example: pakora, a snack made out of chicken, onion, eggplant, lentils, potato, spinach, cauliflower, tomato, or chili, which is dipped in a batter of gram flour and then deep-fried; and punkah, a large swinging fan made out of palmyra leaves. Keep a running list of the words you are not familiar with. When you have a chance, look them up and write the meanings down. They probably won't be in your dictionary, so go online to Google (www.google.com) type each word in, and go to the link that comes up.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In many ways, Anand is a normal kid like you and your friends. He's impulsive and impatient and often unsure of himself. Cite examples of these traits in the book.

2. Anand also possesses veryspecial qualities, some of which are still unknown to him. Part of the adventure of The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is his discovery of these extraordinary talents and learning how to use them and when to trust them. Talk about some of his special talents and how he learns (or doesn't learn) to master them.

You, too, have special abilities and talents. Can you count on them? If, for example, you're a great ball player, do you always rely on hitting a home run or making that basket? How do you manage your special skills? How do you develop them? What are your expectations? What are other people's expectations of you?

Are special abilities a gift or a burden? How would Anand answer that question? Name characters in other books you've read that also have extraordinary abilities. How do they view their talents? Given the choice, would you want to be one of them or would you decide on a more normal life?

3. The brotherhood has many specialties. There are brothers who watch the winds, skies, or the oceans; brothers who prepare herb potions; and brothers like Abhaydatta who have mastered remembrance and forgetting. Which specialty intrigues you the most? Which would you choose to specialize in and how would you use it?

4. At the end of The Conch Bearer, the first book in the Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy, Abhaydatta erases the memory of Anand from his mother's, father's, and sister's minds. This is a prerequisite to Anand joining the brotherhood. Why? Why is it necessary for Anand to retain the memory of his family? How does the brotherhood become a new family to him? How is it different from a traditional family? Is this something that you could do?

5. There is an expression: "Teachers teach and students learn." But it is the process that counts.

Giridatta asked the boys to hold out their right hands in front of them. "You all know the importance of willpower in enduring pain. But willpower can take you so far..." He raised his own hand and Anand felt a moment of searing heat..."I'm going to bring it back and when I do, I want you to go inside and see the pain."

The apprentices in the brotherhood are active learners, that is, they participate and experience the things they learn. Passive learners on the other hand are told what they should know by their teachers. Which approach are you most familiar with? What is the best way for you to learn? How does the brotherhood school compare to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books?

6. When he is not chosen by the brotherhood to accompany Abhaydatta on the mission, Anand feels he is being held back because he is young and inexperienced. Do the adults in your life treat you the same way? Explain.

7. Abhaydatta tells Anand: "The world has rhythms both peaceful and violent..." How does this reflect on the philosophy of the brotherhood? They certainly have the power to prevent war and human suffering. Discuss why they choose to limit their involvement in such matters. Why is it that they only intervene when evil stirs? What role does the conch play in fighting evil?

8. Whenever Anand has doubts in his ability, Abhaydatta reminds him to trust in himself and reaffirms his importance with the phrase, "You are the conch bearer." Who in your life is the constant for you? How does that person keep you on the right track?

9. The old crew were returning...a straggling line of men, red in color from head to toe, moving with a strange, shuffling gait that wasn't quite human...Their faces remained empty of expression...Each man clutched a bundle of rupees in his fist — but without interest, as though he no longer knew what it was..."So, which of you men wants to put in an honest day's work and make more money in a week than you ever saw in a month?" the stranger said. All the men who'd been waiting began to shout, calling on him to pick them.

Why are the men in the village of Sona Dighi so willing to go into the forest despite the fact that they know there are terrible consequences? How does the stranger take advantage of this situation? What does this say about the human condition?

10. The mirror was a window through which he could see into the world of the past, he understood that much. But so far, he was unable to understand how he should use it to enter that world.

Anand knows that the mirror is his escape route from the stranger and the portal into the past world. How does he eventually discover how to use it? Why wasn't the stranger allowed to pass through the mirror?

11. Anand puts his trust in Paribanou (Nisha) and tells her of the conch and the danger that will beset the kingdom. What was the nature of that trust? Why didn't she dismiss him as a crackpot or a troublemaker and turn him in? Why does she agree to help him?

12. In Anand's journey four hundred years back to the time of the Nawab of Nazib, we are struck by the society's rigid class structure: Opulence, indulgence, unimaginable wealth, power, and privilege of the ruling class versus hunger, poverty, and subservience of the common people. Who in the novel are the ruling class? Who are the serving class? Is the class structure unique to that society? Can you think of other times in history where similar class structures existed? Do such things exist now? If so, where?

13. "How dare you run behind the chief minister's niece and call out to her, you insolent servant boy!" the sentry cried [to Anand]. "...It is Allah's great mercy that Haider Ali did not see you, or he would have had you beheaded before nightfall..."

Was this admonition from the sentry an idle threat or was Anand really in danger if the minister had seen him?

14. As the durbar progressed, Anand grew aware of small sounds from behind the wall with the filigree. He could hear whispers, the tinkle of bangles, once even a smothered laugh. The women of the zenana were back there, observing what went on in the court!...Was this the highlight of their day, the one chance to see how the outside world functioned, to watch the power play?

What role did women play in the nawab's court? Was Anand correct about his observations or was there more than meets the eye? How different is it from the role women play now in our country? Are there any societies today where the role of women is the same as that in the story?

15. When Nisha's memory is returned to her, she must make a decision on whether to return with Anand and Abhaydatta to the present and develop her powers as an herbmistress and healer or live out her life in the past with Mahabet and rule the land as the begum. Why does she eventually decide to go back? Why didn't Anand or Abhaydatta put pressure on her to return? What would you have done if you were in her situation?

16. Vegetable sellers sat behind piles of purple brinjals and glistening mounds of green chilies....Fisherwomen jangled their bracelets...There were buffalo carts with colorful bolts of cloth...Nearby, a sweet-ice man poured colored syrup on pieces of ice, which he shaved off a huge block of ice that lay sweating under a jute sack....

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni offers us descriptions of foods and places in The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming that tantalize our senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Find examples of the beautiful descriptions and list them below.

17. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has said that she is writing The Brotherhood of the Conch books to introduce Indian culture to many American young readers — to help them appreciate and understand the things that are the same and those that are different from the culture American kids know. What did you learn about Indian culture from reading The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming? How does it change the way you think about people of Indian descent?

18. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is a fantasy novel and has many of the elements that define the genre: a theme of good that must destroy evil, a quest or two quests, the testing of the her, magic, and an exotic setting. Find and name these elements in the book and show how they interact to build the story of the novel.

AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

www.SimonSaysTEACH.com

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

This guide was created by Clifford Wohl, Educational Consultant.


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of three acclaimed novels, The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, and The Vine of Desire; two short story collections, Arranged Marriage and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives; four volumes of poetry; and a novel for young readers, Neela: Victory Song. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Born in India, she currently lives in Texas, where she teaches writing at the University of Houston.

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Reading Group Guide

ABOUT THE BOOK

In The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, the second adventure of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy, Anand is an apprentice healer. When he gets a vision that his mentor, Abhaydatta, is in trouble, he disobeys all advice and rules and goes off to set things right. While it seems he is making a rash decision, the conch agrees to help him, confirming that his decision is the correct one and that he, with the help of Nisha, is the only one who can save Abhaydatta and defeat the evil forces.

Anand's quest is filled with challenges and missteps, failures and successes, and many difficult choices along the way, which all offer subjects for thought and discussion. The questions below are meant to help you get the conversations going.

As you read The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, you are going to come across many words used in India with which you may be unfamiliar. For example: pakora, a snack made out of chicken, onion, eggplant, lentils, potato, spinach, cauliflower, tomato, or chili, which is dipped in a batter of gram flour and then deep-fried; and punkah, a large swinging fan made out of palmyra leaves. Keep a running list of the words you are not familiar with. When you have a chance, look them up and write the meanings down. They probably won't be in your dictionary, so go online to Google (www.google.com) type each word in, and go to the link that comes up.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In many ways, Anand is a normal kid like you and your friends. He's impulsive and impatient and often unsure of himself. Cite examples of these traits in the book.

2. Anand also possesses very special qualities, some of which are still unknown to him. Part of the adventure of The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is his discovery of these extraordinary talents and learning how to use them and when to trust them. Talk about some of his special talents and how he learns (or doesn't learn) to master them.

You, too, have special abilities and talents. Can you count on them? If, for example, you're a great ball player, do you always rely on hitting a home run or making that basket? How do you manage your special skills? How do you develop them? What are your expectations? What are other people's expectations of you?

Are special abilities a gift or a burden? How would Anand answer that question? Name characters in other books you've read that also have extraordinary abilities. How do they view their talents? Given the choice, would you want to be one of them or would you decide on a more normal life?

3. The brotherhood has many specialties. There are brothers who watch the winds, skies, or the oceans; brothers who prepare herb potions; and brothers like Abhaydatta who have mastered remembrance and forgetting. Which specialty intrigues you the most? Which would you choose to specialize in and how would you use it?

4. At the end of The Conch Bearer, the first book in the Brotherhood of the Conch trilogy, Abhaydatta erases the memory of Anand from his mother's, father's, and sister's minds. This is a prerequisite to Anand joining the brotherhood. Why? Why is it necessary for Anand to retain the memory of his family? How does the brotherhood become a new family to him? How is it different from a traditional family? Is this something that you could do?

5. There is an expression: "Teachers teach and students learn." But it is the process that counts.

Giridatta asked the boys to hold out their right hands in front of them. "You all know the importance of willpower in enduring pain. But willpower can take you so far..." He raised his own hand and Anand felt a moment of searing heat..."I'm going to bring it back and when I do, I want you to go inside and see the pain."

The apprentices in the brotherhood are active learners, that is, they participate and experience the things they learn. Passive learners on the other hand are told what they should know by their teachers. Which approach are you most familiar with? What is the best way for you to learn? How does the brotherhood school compare to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books?

6. When he is not chosen by the brotherhood to accompany Abhaydatta on the mission, Anand feels he is being held back because he is young and inexperienced. Do the adults in your life treat you the same way? Explain.

7. Abhaydatta tells Anand: "The world has rhythms both peaceful and violent..." How does this reflect on the philosophy of the brotherhood? They certainly have the power to prevent war and human suffering. Discuss why they choose to limit their involvement in such matters. Why is it that they only intervene when evil stirs? What role does the conch play in fighting evil?

8. Whenever Anand has doubts in his ability, Abhaydatta reminds him to trust in himself and reaffirms his importance with the phrase, "You are the conch bearer." Who in your life is the constant for you? How does that person keep you on the right track?

9. The old crew were returning...a straggling line of men, red in color from head to toe, moving with a strange, shuffling gait that wasn't quite human...Their faces remained empty of expression...Each man clutched a bundle of rupees in his fist — but without interest, as though he no longer knew what it was..."So, which of you men wants to put in an honest day's work and make more money in a week than you ever saw in a month?" the stranger said. All the men who'd been waiting began to shout, calling on him to pick them.

Why are the men in the village of Sona Dighi so willing to go into the forest despite the fact that they know there are terrible consequences? How does the stranger take advantage of this situation? What does this say about the human condition?

10. The mirror was a window through which he could see into the world of the past, he understood that much. But so far, he was unable to understand how he should use it to enter that world.

Anand knows that the mirror is his escape route from the stranger and the portal into the past world. How does he eventually discover how to use it? Why wasn't the stranger allowed to pass through the mirror?

11. Anand puts his trust in Paribanou (Nisha) and tells her of the conch and the danger that will beset the kingdom. What was the nature of that trust? Why didn't she dismiss him as a crackpot or a troublemaker and turn him in? Why does she agree to help him?

12. In Anand's journey four hundred years back to the time of the Nawab of Nazib, we are struck by the society's rigid class structure: Opulence, indulgence, unimaginable wealth, power, and privilege of the ruling class versus hunger, poverty, and subservience of the common people. Who in the novel are the ruling class? Who are the serving class? Is the class structure unique to that society? Can you think of other times in history where similar class structures existed? Do such things exist now? If so, where?

13. "How dare you run behind the chief minister's niece and call out to her, you insolent servant boy!" the sentry cried [to Anand]. "...It is Allah's great mercy that Haider Ali did not see you, or he would have had you beheaded before nightfall..."

Was this admonition from the sentry an idle threat or was Anand really in danger if the minister had seen him?

14. As the durbar progressed, Anand grew aware of small sounds from behind the wall with the filigree. He could hear whispers, the tinkle of bangles, once even a smothered laugh. The women of the zenana were back there, observing what went on in the court!...Was this the highlight of their day, the one chance to see how the outside world functioned, to watch the power play?

What role did women play in the nawab's court? Was Anand correct about his observations or was there more than meets the eye? How different is it from the role women play now in our country? Are there any societies today where the role of women is the same as that in the story?

15. When Nisha's memory is returned to her, she must make a decision on whether to return with Anand and Abhaydatta to the present and develop her powers as an herbmistress and healer or live out her life in the past with Mahabet and rule the land as the begum. Why does she eventually decide to go back? Why didn't Anand or Abhaydatta put pressure on her to return? What would you have done if you were in her situation?

16. Vegetable sellers sat behind piles of purple brinjals and glistening mounds of green chilies....Fisherwomen jangled their bracelets...There were buffalo carts with colorful bolts of cloth...Nearby, a sweet-ice man poured colored syrup on pieces of ice, which he shaved off a huge block of ice that lay sweating under a jute sack....

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni offers us descriptions of foods and places in The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming that tantalize our senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Find examples of the beautiful descriptions and list them below.

17. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has said that she is writing The Brotherhood of the Conch books to introduce Indian culture to many American young readers — to help them appreciate and understand the things that are the same and those that are different from the culture American kids know. What did you learn about Indian culture from reading The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming? How does it change the way you think about people of Indian descent?

18. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is a fantasy novel and has many of the elements that define the genre: a theme of good that must destroy evil, a quest or two quests, the testing of the her, magic, and an exotic setting. Find and name these elements in the book and show how they interact to build the story of the novel.

AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

www.SimonSaysTEACH.com

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

This guide was created by Clifford Wohl, Educational Consultant.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    The Magic of India and Anand Continue

    Anand and Nisha have become apprentices in the Silver Valley, learning to use the magical powers and the powers of the natural world. But Anand feels frustrated as he struggles. A great adventure beckons and our characters are thrown into a journey and a struggle as they travel back in time.

    Better than the first book in the series, The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming has a more original story that draws upon Indian history. Divakaruni draws vivid pictures of the time of the Indian Moghul rulers, as well as contemporary Indian village life. This is the time of princes and princesses, elephants and elegant costumes, amidst great palaces. The book is fast moving and easy to follow. The characters are beginning to show more depth as they age.

    I look forward to more in this series. The author could really use her knowledge of India and all its lore to take us on a Harry Potter-like adventures all over the subcontinent. This is a good read aloud for kids over 7, and my 11 yo and my husband also enoyed this fast-paced book.

    Great to read while in Rajahstan!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    its awesome

    I liked this book a lot. You could see there's a huge love between Abhaydatta and Anand. And also the part when they go back in future. I technically thought it was an great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2005

    A Series to Treasure

    With rich, sumptuous detail and admirable clarity Chitra Divakaruni draws us into the Conch Bearer Anand¿s journey for a second time. The difficulties faced and lessons learned by the Brotherhood of the Conch in this newest book combine to create an enchanting story. Both The Conch Bearer and The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming provide vibrant descriptions, especially concerning culture and food. These books are delightful adventures wholesome enough for any age group to enjoy. Happy Reading

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