THE ROYAL DIARIES is pleased to introduce historical novelist, Sheri Holman, who makes her debut on the list with a captivating story of fourteen-year-old Princess Sondok from seventh-century Korea.
During the seventh-century, the land which is now Korea was fraught with political and religious intrigue. The country was split into Three Kingdoms, each fighting for supremacy: Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche. Besides the warring kingdoms, there are three religions in conflict: Shamanism, the ancient female-dominated faith wherein Shamanist priestesses wield great power at court, foretelling the future, performing important national rituals, and healing sickness; Buddhism, the contemplative State religion; and Confucianism, a recent import from powerful China.
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Grade 3-6-Set in ancient Silla, part of modern-day South Korea, this diary follows the life of Princess Sondok. Although little is known about the subject's childhood, Holman has written a discerning novel to reflect what life may have been like for the princess who became the first ruling Queen of Silla in A.D. 632. When the book opens, the protagonist has just become guardian of the ancestor jar. She writes notes to her dead grandmother, describing activities in the royal court or asking advice. These are the diary entries. What is known about Queen Sondok's reign is that Buddhism flourished, and that she built the oldest standing astronomical observatory in Asia. Thus, Holman has created an intelligent, spiritual princess with a passion for astronomy. The powerful influence of China and Confucianism in Silla is revealed through the fictitious character of Lin Fang, a Chinese Ambassador who becomes Sondok's teacher. She feels torn between the ancient, feminine practice of shamanism, the contemporary ideas of Buddhism, and the infiltrating authority of Confucianism in her country but she learns to take what is useful from each practice to find a balance for herself and the country she will soon reign. A well-written story that will inspire young readers to learn more about other wise women from Asia.
Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Description du livre Scholastic Inc., 2002. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0439165865
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