Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Golden Sandal-
A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story
 By Rebecca Hickox 
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

My teaching colleagues and friends in the Middle East are always looking for mentor texts that reflect our student population.  There are many aspects of this book that are part of our students’ fascinating cultures.

Book Talk
Maha’s mother has died and her widowed father is rearing her alone.  She encourages her father to marry the neighbor, which he does.  The new wife moves in with her own daughter, and soon things get hard for Maha.  The new wife treats her with disrespect, barely gives her any food and she and her daughter make Maha do all the hard work.

Once, when Maha is returning to the house with a basket of catfish that she has been sent to fetch, she hears a voice and finds a bright red fish under the others, speaking to her.  He asks to be released back into the river and when Maha does it, he says he will repay the favor someday.

The years went by, the girls grew and Maha continued to do all the hard work.  She also grew in beauty inside and out, which made her stepmother even more jealous of her. When the work got so hard for her, she would always go to the river and seek the friendship and comfort of the red fish 

One day, an important merchant’s daughter was to be married.  Traditionally, at the time of a wedding, all the women in the village gather to sing, celebrate and paint beautiful henna designs on the bride's hands. This is a very exciting time for all the village women-young and old.

A favorite line: "One day the daughter of the master merchant was to be married. All the women of the town gathered before the wedding to sing and celebrate and watch the bride's arms and feet be painted with red henna stain.This was a time of great excitement among the unmarried girls, for it was at the women's celebration that they were seen by the mothers of the young men. Whom would they choose to be brides for their sons?"

Maha’s stepmother was very excited about the opportunities for her own daughter, so Maha has to dress and ready the stepsister for the big event. Maha, of course, was not included.  When all had gone to the festivities, Maha visited her friend, the red fish.

She tells the fish she wants to go to the wedding preparations and the fish magically arranges for a gorgeous gown and golden slippers for her. Maha dresses herself and she is beautiful.  The fish tells her to be sure to leave before her stepmother does.

Maha is warmly greeted at the wedding house and is invited to sit next to the bride. She has such a wonderful time she forgets to watch when her stepmother leaves.  She has to run out of the house and she looses one of her golden sandals.

The very next day, Tariq, the brother of the bride, happens to find the sandal and decides he want to marry the owner and sets out to find her.  He visits every village house in his search and finally comes to Maha’s house.  A rooster tells the Tariq where to look for Maha, he finds her and of course the golden sandal fits Maha's foot perfectly!  They marry the next day.

The story ends with a humorous, non-traditional, non-Cinderella type twist that students will enjoy!

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Fairytale
Reading Workshop strategies: Predicting, Summarizing
Writing Workshop genre: Fairytale
Curricular Themes: Mulit-cultural, We Need Diverse Books

No comments:

Post a Comment