Title: The Tigers in the Tower // Author: Julia Golding
Date of publication: November 18th 2020 // Print length: ebook, 220 pages
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“A Little Princess – with tigers! Orphan and outcast Sahira Clive is a brave and plucky heroine with a brightly burning heart. I was rooting for her all the way to the end of this thrilling – and thought-provoking – adventure.” Ally Sherrick, award-winning author of Black Powder
Sahira’s family are travelling to England to deliver two majestic Indian tigers to the menagerie in the tower of London.
But tragedy strikes and sickness steals Sahira’s parents from her on the journey. Left alone in London, Sarhira finds herself confined to a miserable and dangerous orphanage. Despite her heartache and the threats she faces, Sahira is determined to carry out her father’s last request – to protect God’s beautiful creatures: her tigers. To do so, Sahira must set out on an adventure and use all her powers of persuasion to engage the help of some new friends along the way.
Can the quest to find her tigers a safe home, lead Sahira to find her own place of hope and belonging in this strange and foreign land?
Trigger Wanings: death of a parent, racist behaviour towards a non-white character, lethal illness, being orphaned, animal cruelty, bullying, grief, domestic abuse, corporeal punishment,
Diversity Tags: POC represensation (Sahira is Indian)
Writing Quality 5/5, Character Development 4/5, ‘Couldn’t put it down’ – ness 4/5, Intellectual Depth 5/5, Diversity 5/5, Originality 5/5, Overall 4.66/5
The only reason why I wanted to read this book is that the cover featured a non-white character and because it was a middle grade. I have never in my life stumbled across a diverse middle-grade, and I was down for what this book had to offer.
Sahira is the main character, and the story starts with her on a boat, sailing from India to England. On her way there, Sahira’s parents die, and the poor girl becomes an orphan. Found on new land, and being different from everyone else, Sahira has to find a way to save the only thing her father had left her; the tigers.
“Don’t worry. Like Sindad, I’ve travelled to places they’ve never been, faced down threats they can’t imagine. They haven’t met anyone like me before.”chapter 3
I simply loved this book not only because the main character wasn’t white, but also because it deals with judgement for being different. We all have to learn that somebody being different, doesn’t necessarily mean scary. Sahira is so inspiring as a character, that you will always have a place for her in your heart. She keeps being put down by others for being an abbreviation from the norm, but she never gives up. She takes it all and comes back stronger than before.
It seemed remarkable to Sahira that Emily’s parents, when they were alive, had placed their own pleasures first. Was this how English families behaved? she wondered. Her parents had spent so much of their time teaching her and taking her exploring; she hadn’t wanted for anything. Maybe she had a chance to give something back?CHAPTER 7
Even if the book gives an overall hopeful feeling, it is still sad. An orphanage is a depressing place, but as usual, Sahira does not let the demons eat her alive. Sometimes she just needs a hug, and I would be happy to be the one who offers!
So far in this orphanage Sahira had been told so many things she couldn’t do, she wondered what was allowed.chapter 3
The Tigers in the Tower is an exquisite historical middle grade, and I could see in school libraries at some point. The only downside is that Julia is white, and she hasn’t been through what Sahira experiences (racism and judgements), therefore she does not talk form experience. What is good about this novel is that Julia recognises the problems of racism and tries as much as she can to bring light on what it does to kids, and not only.
“Be polite”, her mother had told her, “even when others are not.”chapter 3
I highly recommend it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julia Golding is amulti-award winning writer for adults and young adults. She also writes under thepen names ofJoss StirlingandEve Edwards. Born in 1969, she grew up near Epping Forest. Shestudied English at Cambridge University, then joined the Foreign Office and worked in Poland, before returning to Oxford University to study for a doctorate in literature of the romantic period.Sheworked for Oxfam, lobbying on conflict issues, before becoming a full-time writer. Over three-quarter of a million of her books have been sold worldwide in many languages.