Atheneum Books, 1976
Menolly lives in one of the oldest Holds of Pern, and her father wants a traditional path for his daughter. What she wants, however, is to become a Harper—a prestigious position in Pern who lives in her cities and towns, teaching music and playing the songs that remember the heroes of the land. However, standing in her way is the tradition that this position has only been previously held by men, and her father certainly isn’t going to allow her to pursue her dreams. Although, one fateful day, Menolly comes across a next of fire lizards, a small animal similar to a dragon that was previously held to be a myth. Soon she discovers that these small creatures may hold the key to her survival and unlocking her dreams.
One of the most tantalizing elements to McCaffrey’s works of fantasy is that she’s created a world in Pern with its own life. All of the rules and regulations, the traditions and histories, and the social structures as a whole are unique to this world, let alone that it involves dragons and fire lizards. The Harper Hall trilogy is a great addition to the world of Pern because rather than focusing on the glorious lives of the Riders, its main characters are simple folk with simple, but important dreams. They take the reader from the bird’s eye view of the world straight into focus on everyday people, living and working in Pern. It really makes the world feel entirely alive. I recommend this trilogy to any readers 11+.
For the Classroom
Since this text operates in a parallel world with separate cultures, societal issues, natural laws and histories than our own, there’s not much to use as a classroom companion.
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