Learning to be a Knight
Tamora Pierce is the author of many young adult novels that take place in the land of Tortall. The strong female characters in these books inspired me to find my own strength as a young girl, and my life has been shaped by the power of the characters in these stories.
I grew up in the land of Tortall. I disguised myself as a boy to become a knight. I talked to animals and understood what they said back. I worshipped the Goddess and Mithros. I visited Carthak and was given the power to raise dead animals. I lived with the Bazhir and taught the young mages of the tribe how to harness their magical Gift. I learned how to strengthen my Wild Magic. I fought ancient gods, befriended Stormwings, and fell in love.
The fantasy world of Tortall has been with me since I was in middle school, which is when I first read the first two series set in that world (Song of the Lioness and The Immortals). And while all of the series are YA, I’ve read both of the above series and all three more recent series (Protector of the Small, Daughter of the Lioness, and Provost’s Dog) multiple times. In fact, a collection of short stories called Tortall and Other Lands was released two weeks ago, and I’ve already read it, even though I’m in my mid-20s.
Each series set in Tortall (or the surrounding lands) follows a strong, independent young woman. All of these fictional characters have been my own role models in life. We watch them grow, we watch them stumble, we watch them learn, we watch them get up and show the world who’s boss. And each of these women have their own personalities. They are not the same person, written over and over. That is one of my favorite things about these books.
Tamora Pierce’s books have been as much of an integral part of my life as the Harry Potter series. In my free time, I volunteer with the HPA, but I also run a Tortall appreciation blog on Tumblr with one of my friends. I have had couch reading parties where my friend and I sit and read together. When I’m feeling low or I need a pick-me-up, I usually turn to one of the Tortall books to make me feel better. Or I call my above mentioned friend and we gossip and fangirl over our favorite moments in the books.
That is why, for Accio Books! this year, I will be scouting around for gently used books from the Tortall world to send to the Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School. If just one kid picks up the books and gets transported to this medieval fantasy world, then I have accomplished everything that Accio Books! stands for – I’ve given back to a new generation of readers.