Every year millions of children novels are submitted, yet only a handful are selected with the honor of being published. Within that pool, a much more rigorous round of sifting occurs to receive an even more prestigious award – the Newberry Award. This award is given to one distinguishing American book that is regarded as the “most significant contribution to children’s literature.” In 1997, Gail Carson Levine crafted a medieval masterpiece that earned its award as a Newberry Honor Book in 1998. She depicts a realistic twist to the age-old Cinderella tale including ogres, and fairies, while artfully hinting moral values including selflessness, true love’s internal power, and most of all to be true to oneself. These lessons as well as the character depth that can be seen in society today create a truly unparalleled novel that gives a self-explanation to its selection for its distinguished award.
The novel begins with Ella of Frell being given the gift of unconditional obedience at birth by the foolish fairy, Lucinda, despite all her mothers’ best efforts in dissuading her. Eventually, Ella learns how hazardous her “gift” could be at a young age, and was sworn to never tell any one of her curse. Although placed under these unfavorable circumstances, Ella was relentless in finding loopholes in restraint. Eventually Ella’s mother passed away, and at her funeral, Ella met the Prince of Kyrria, Char, as well as Dame Olga, and her two daughters, Hattie and Olive. Dame Olga soon pursues Ella’s father, Sir Peter, as a potential husband figure purely through his wealthy financial background. During this courting, Ella, Hattie and Olive are all sent to finishing school; where Hattie and Olive, who follow traits of their mother, learn that Ella is unconditionally obedient, and use it to their advantage. After Hattie orders Ella to end her friendship with her loyal friend, Areida, Ella runs away from finishing school in an attempt to avert the order. She...
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