Susan Fletcher
Shadow Spinner
Shadow Spinner
ISBN: 978-0689830518
Barnes and Noble
A Children's Place
Shadow Spinner
About the Book
Every night, Shahrazad begins a story. And every morning, the Sultan lets her live another day—providing the story is interesting enough to capture his attention. After almost one thousand nights, Shahrazad is running out of tales. And that is how Marjan's story begins.
It falls to Marjan to help Shahrazad find new stories—ones the Sultan has never heard before. To do that, the girl is forced to undertake a dangerous and forbidden mission: sneak from the harem and travel the city, pulling tales from strangers and bringing them back to Shahrazad. But as she searches the city, a wonderful thing happens. From a quiet spinner of tales, Marjan suddenly becomes the center of a more surprising story than she ever could have imagined.
A Note from the Author
You’ve heard about the famous legendary storyteller, Shahrazad? You know, the one who had to tell a new story every night for 1001 nights—otherwise her husband would kill her? Even if you haven’t heard of Shahrazad, you’ve probably heard some of the stories she told: “Aladdin,” “Sindbad the Sailor,” “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” and many, many more.
I got to thinking about the legend of this remarkable woman, Shahrazad. She actually volunteered for the job! Nobody was forcing her to marry that awful sultan. He had a grudge against women, so he would marry one in the daytime, spend the night with her, and have her killed the following morning. But Shahrazad had an idea to stop the killings. She would marry him, then get him interested in a story she was telling. It would be a long story, too long for just one night. So if he wanted to hear how the story came out ... he would have to let her live another day. Her plan worked. But the problem was, she had to keep it up for a long time. Really long. Almost-three-years long.
I loved the idea of a hero who saves a bunch of people’s lives—not by going out and fighting and killing and stuff like that--but simply by telling stories. But I knew that if I had to think up a new story every night for 1001 nights, I’d get storyteller’s block for sure! I began to wonder what might happen if Shahrazad did get storyteller’s block. Might someone help her find new stories? Maybe a younger girl, someone who admired Shahrazad for her courage and her skill? And then what if the events of the story required this girl to develop her own courage and storytelling skills?
The other thing I loved about working with the legend of Shahrazad was that it gave me a chance to reflect upon the importance of storytelling. Because I tell stories too—only in a different way. I make them up and write them down. Sometimes I get the impression that my family members (who mostly work in the sciences) think that devoting one’s life work to stories is, well, maybe a little bit loopy. So the “Lessons for Life and Storytelling” in the book are meditations, kind of. Reflections on why it’s important to read stories, tell stories, write stories. Stories can save your life!
A Treat from the Author
Want to try making sharbat? Click here for two delicious recipes.
Copyright 2011 - , Susan Fletcher. All rights reserved.