#Librarian reviews #TheBlackLotus, a fantastic #ninja novel@ ChellyWood.com #NinjaSteel

Every now and then, I have reviewed a sewing or craft book, here on ChellyWood.com, but this time I’m straying from my usual topic for a sweepstakes giveaway contest that I’ll be posting tomorrow at 5:00 AM, Mountain Standard Time (US).

Those of you who know me personally are aware that I work as a middle school librarian in my day job. Very rarely do I run across a book that inspires me to create doll costumes for its characters. However, The Black Lotus: Shadow of the Ninja was one such book. After reading this book, I was utterly inspired to create a ninja costume for fashion dolls!

My two daughters are fully grown, so I really don’t have any use for the doll clothes I make anymore. Sewing doll clothes has been a passion of mine since childhood, though, so what should I do with all the doll clothes I make? Granted, I could sell them on Etsy. A lot of sewists do that.

But I make plenty of money at my job as a librarian. Besides, there’s a lot of work that goes into maintaining and advertising an Etsy store. So instead of trying to sell my handmade doll clothes for petty cash, I just give them away. Sewing doll clothes is really just about me having fun anyway!

So this week I’m going to try something new. I’ve combined my passion for books with my love of sewing, and I’ve decided to use my talents to help promote a new novel that has recently inspired my sewing. It’s called The Black Lotus: Shadow of the Ninja, and it was written by Kieran Fanning. My sincere hope is that other librarians (and parents too) will get wind of this really wonderful book for kids and families and buy the book for their own collections.

And let me say that nobody paid me for this review. I’m not that kind of person. I just really, really enjoyed this book!

What do I like about The Black Lotus? Well first of all, it’s good, clean, healthy, family-oriented fun! The author takes the reader back through time, to the Samurai era in Japan, where three pre-teen ninjas (who belong to a secret society of ninjas) attempt to steal a sword from an evil warlord, so they can bring it forward in time.

Here’s what the cover looks like (used with permission):

Image shows the cover of a middle-grade novel called "the Black Lotus: the Samurai Wars" by Kieran Fanning. Three teenage ninjas are pictured on the streets of a city with a sunset behind them. They cast shadows on the street where they stand. The ninja in the foreground holds a samurai sword.

The Amazon book blurb reads like this: “Ghost, Cormac, and Kate are not like other kids. Ghost can turn invisible, Cormac can run up walls, and Kate can talk to animals–all abilities that make them perfect for the Black Lotus, a training school for ninjas who are sworn to protect the world from the evil samurai-run Empire. But when the Moon Sword–a source of unimaginable power–is stolen, the three are forced to put their new skills to the test and go back in time to sixteenth-century Japan and retrieve it.”

I love that the author is able to send his ninjas into their adventure without swearing, sexual innuendo, or other stuff that causes middle school librarians to cringe. The characters were especially appealing to me as well.

  • Cormac is from Ireland. He finds himself being bullied in school because he’s so different from everyone else. This is, of course, a hot topic in middle-grade literature. I have kids check out books about bullying all the time at my library.
  • Ghost grew up in Brazil, and he is of African family heritage. As all librarians know, it’s important to have a number of books on your library shelves that appeal to students of many ethnic backgrounds. Since I live in a community with a high population of Portuguese students (some of which are also of African heritage), this character was particularly appealing to me when purchasing books for my library, as Ghost, like most people in Brazil, speaks Portuguese as his first language.
  • Kate is an American character, and she has a really tough backbone. She’s often the realist of the bunch, pointing out what should be obvious to the boys but isn’t. I like books with strong female characters, and that definitely describes Kate.

Finally, this book obviously appeals to pre-teen kids who love anime, ninjas, and all things Japanese. With the advent of the Internet, I’ve seen a surge in students’ interest in Japanese culture, language, history, and merchandise. I recommend this book because it provides a traditional-style book format (not manga or graphic novel style, but more traditional book style) to students who love Japanese things, and especially to those who love ninjas.

So that’s my explanation. Since this is more of a blog about sewing, free doll clothes patterns, and DIY tutorials, I just thought it might be wise to explain why I’m promoting a ninja book rather than just posting patterns and tutorials this week.

And as I’ve said, once this sweepstakes giveaway is over, I’ll post my free patterns and tutorials for the ninja outfit shown at the top and bottom of this page. Also, if you’d like to buy your own 1:6 scale doll sword (as shown below), I’ll post details about where you can find a doll sword online later this week.

Image shows Made-to-Move Barbie wearing a handmade Ninja costume complete with body suit, mask, and black shoes. She's holding a packaged ninja-style sword. Overlay says, "ChellyWood.com: free printable sewing patterns for dolls of many shapes and sizes."

Visit ChellyWood.com to win the free Ninja costume shown.

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