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Rodda, Emily.
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2001.
IL 3-6, RL 3.7
ISBN 0060297085
(3 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

“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 the adventure.

Prepared by: Suzanne Washick for South Carolina Junior Book Award 2005

Booktalk #2

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,, Pickens Elementary School, Pickens, SC)

Booktalk #3

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,,  Pickens High School, Pickens, South Carolina)

SUBJECTS:     Heroes -- Fiction.


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