By Author / Illustrator
Lion Hudson Ltd
Paperback / softback
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?
The Tigers in the Tower follows Sahira, an orphan. This unfortunate turn of events happens on the journey from India to England with the two tigers that her father is supplying to the menagerie at the Tower of London. During the journey, both parents succumb to an illness and die, their bodies buried at sea.
Sahira's life is turned upside down. She is cruelly ripped from the tigers that she loves, the only thing that held her to her parents, and placed in a rather questionable orphanage. Her mixed heritage is a cause for unwanted attention which leads her into many occasions of having to defend herself against injustice. Her bold and courageous manner earn her respect from some and new found friendships are formed.
As the tigers mourn their link to India and the loss of their freedom, Sahira is called in to guide the keepers of the menagerie. Here, Sahira finally finds some stability. She gets to see her beloved tigers every day and life is slightly more bearable. But this fine balance cannot last forever and Sahira is forced into taking drastic action if she is to save them.
This wonderful tale - that weaves historical fact with fiction - is a joy to read. The book links to the plight of animals in the wild and in captivity, children of mixed heritage, the frustrations met by a child with no power or say, the injustice of being bullied and blamed just for being different. There are so many wonderful opportunities to link historical fiction with the issues still faced today. I would highly recommend it.
304 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Donna Burkert, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+