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Swallow's Dance

Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home--and her family--in pieces. And the earth goddess hasn't finished with the island yet.

With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born are reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira must find the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.

A thrilling new Bronze Age survival story from the award-winning author of Dragonfly Song and Nim's Island.

"[Orr's] mixture of prose and free verse to tell Leira's story is lyrical and magnetic—and devastating. Not for readers searching for a simple or happy journey, this is a beautiful song of a book that shows that life isn't always fair, but change is always constant."—Kirkus Reviews

"Leira's lyrical first-person narrative advances the story along beautifully with a fitting sense of urgency, and free-verse songs clue readers in to her emotional development. Immersive historical fiction."—Booklist Starred Review

"Some chapters written in verse make the more emotional plotlines sing. An eye-opening look at how difficult it is when one's status changes in life, and how attitude can shape outcome. VERDICT: Beautiful writing and a fast-moving plot will give young historical fiction fans much to love."—School Library Journal

"Leira's protracted fall from grace is effectively punctuated by seamless narrative shifts among prose, verse, and song, which fans of Orr's Dragonfly Song will recognize. What she endures—the uncertainty of her family's fate and becoming a servant herself—makes for a gripping exploration of privilege during her journey toward womanhood."—Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

"Swallow's Dance is a sweeping tale of courage, fortitude, hardship and perseverance against all odds. It is also a coming of age story, an intimate glimpse into the life of a young girl adjusting to puberty at a time when her family, friendships and her understanding of her place in the world are brutally torn apart. Wendy Orr has crafted a sympathetic, memorable heroine whose struggles and challenges transcend time from the Bronze Age to modern day....While suitable for middle-grade students and a wonderful introduction to mythology and discussions surrounding puberty, spirituality, class, mental health, death and disaster, Swallow's Dance is one of those rare books that is also just a great story, an epic tale for all ages. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient!... The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor."—Youth Services Book Review

"Orr's attention to character development is extremely well done....Swallow's Dance could be used in conjunction with the grades-five-to-eight Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum and would be great to teach students how to incorporate symbolism and imagery through free verse and poetry. In addition, Swallow's Dance could also be used to teach students about family, culture, history and the importance of the role of women in society. A fantastic novel to use as a read-aloud or novel study!"—Canadian Children's Book News

Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 10-14

Themes/Subjects: Legends, Myths, Fables - Greek & Roman / Historical - Ancient Civilizations / Action & Adventure - Survival Stories / Coming of Age.

Additional Information
288 pages | 5.50" x 8.00"