“Seven hearts the journey make.
Seven ways the hearts will break.” Rowan’s village is in danger.
The stream that runs by it has suddenly gone dry. Six of the bravest
and strongest men and women decide to climb the mountain to its source
and risk the dragon who lives at its summit to discover what is wrong.
The only person in the village who knows the way up the mountain is the
mysterious Wise Woman of the village, Sheba. When they ask for her
help, all she gives them are a riddle and a map that can only be read by
Rowan. Though he is the weakest and most timid person in the village,
Rowan must join the other six on the journey up the forbidding mountain.
Along the way, Rowan and the others discover that there is more to bravery
and strength than they ever imagined as each one in turn must face his
or her greatest fears and sorrows. Will timid and weak Rowan find
the strength that he needs to complete the journey? Will the water
be restored and the village be saved? Read Rowan of Rin to join in
Prepared by: Suzanne Washick
for South Carolina
Junior Book Award 2005
Rowan loves his job as the
keeper of the bukshah, the strong, gentle beasts of the village.
It is viewed as an easy job by the other people in Rin, but Rowan takes
great pride in caring for these animals. When the water supply that
Rin depends on stops, Rowan knows that the life of the bukshah is in danger
as well as the life of the entire village. The adults of Rin decide
that they must climb the mountain to find out why the stream has stopped.
There is one problem. No one who has ever attempted to climb the
mountain has returned.
The adults must consult the
Wise Woman, Sheba, for advice. Rowan accompanies them on this visit.
Sheba gives them no help and throws a stick that cuts Rowan’s head.
But later, Rowan discovers that the stick is really a map of the mountain.
This map can only be read by Rowan. When others hold the map, the
writing and paths disappear.
Because he knows that the lives
of his precious bukshah are in danger, the shy, weak, Rowan agrees to accompany
6 adults on a trip into the mountains. The other villagers see Rowan
as a disappointment and a burden, but he is the only one who can view the
map. As Rowan begins his journey there are many questions in his
mind. Can he restore the water source and save the bukshah?
Can he make his mother proud? Will he show the villagers he is as
strong and brave as his father? Most importantly, what did Sheba
mean when she said:
“Seven hearts the journey make.
Seven ways the hearts will break.
Bravest heart will carry on
When sleep is death, and hope is gone.
Look in the fiery jaws of fear
And see the answer white and clear,
Then throw away all thoughts of home,
For only then your quest is done.”
Read Rowan of Rin to find
out the answers to these questions and learn about the mythical dragon
that lives at the top of the mountain. (Allison L. Powell, email@example.com,
Pickens Elementary School, Pickens, SC)
Rowan of Rin is a young boy
who tends to the bukshah in a village that is at the bottom of a forbidden
mountain. The mountain is forbidden because legend says that a dragon lives
at the very top and anybody who has ever tried to go up the mountain has
never returned. The people of Rowan’s village are all hardworking and brave
people, but Rowan is timid and shy; even he knows that he is not brave
and some people laugh at him. In this story, water that the villagers and
their bukshah need usually flows down from the mountain, but the water
suddenly stops and everything dries up. Since the water is necessary for
their survival, a group of villagers decides to travel up the mountain
to discover why the water has stopped flowing. No one, including Rowan,
wants him to go on the journey, but he is the only one who can read the
riddles on the magical map. Read Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda to discover
whether Rowan can save his village and show that he does indeed possess
courage like all the other villagers. (Karen Williamson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Pickens High School, Pickens, South Carolina)