A Magic Steeped in Poison
Ning blames herself for her mother's death; she is the one who brewed the tea that poisoned her—the same poison tea that may now kill her sister. But when she learns of a competition that may give her a chance to be the kingdom’s next shennong-shi, a master of magical tea-making, she embarks on a dangerous journey where she must learn who to trust and dive deeper into the magic to save her sister and herself, her friends, and the empire. Rich with figurative language, this novel paints a vivid magical world full of adventure, history, fantasy, mystery, and suspense. In a secondary classroom, this story lends itself well to literature circles or independent novel studies, which may be of particular interest to students who enjoy the fantasy genre. Teachers may also present it to the whole class and discuss themes of sharing stories, culture, character development, the choices we make, and how the choices of others can affect us.