Cover image for Leyla : the black tulip
Leyla : the black tulip
Croutier, Alev Lytle, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Middleton, Wis. : Pleasant Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
196 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm.
While trying to help her financially destitute family, twelve-year-old Leyla ends up on a slave ship bound for Istanbul, then in the beautiful Topkapi Palace, where she discovers that life in the sheltered world of the palace harem follows its own rigid rules and rhythms and offers her unexpected opportunities during Turkey's brief Tulip Period of the early 1700's.
General Note:
"American Girl."
Reading Level:
810 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.6 5.0 72264.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.4 10 Quiz: 34114 Guided reading level: T.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Series
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Series
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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After her artist father goes off to war, 12-year-old Leyla must help her family earn enough money to survive. She makes a deal with marriage brokers-- but discovers too late that she's sold herself into slavery instead. Her journey as a slave takes her to faraway Istanbul, into the harem of the sultan. There she finds her Kismet, or destiny.

Author Notes

Born in Turkey, Alev Croutier has written and directed award-winning independent films and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on "Tell Me a Riddle". She is the author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller "Harem: The World Behind the Veil". She divides her time between San Francisco and Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography) Alev Lytle Croutier is the author of the internationally acclaimed bestseller "Harem: The World Behind the Veil" (translated into fifteen languages) & "Taking the Waters." Born in Turkey, she has written & directed award-winning independent films in Japan, Turkey, Europe, & the United States. For many years she was the executive editor of Mercury House. She now divides her time between San Francisco & Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-8. In her adult title Harem: The World behind the Veil (1989), Croutier explored the Grand Harem in Istanbul's Tokapi Palace, and she returns to this evocative setting in her first novel for young people. To support her impoverished family, 12-year-old Leyla sells herself to Ottoman marriage brokers passing through her native Caucasus Mountains, but she quickly learns that she has been purchased to be a slave, not a bride. At auction, lucky coincidences land her in the Grand Harem of the Padishah, where she becomes a skilled gardener and artist--talents that lead to rare opportunities and friendships. Leyla's first-person voice evokes the physical beauty of life in "the Golden Cage" with engaging detail, but like Leyla, readers will find themselves confused by the more "adult" aspects of harem life (such as the eunuchs) that are left unexplained. Many of the plot twists are also far-fetched. Yet, the opulent setting, gripping survival story, and the chaste romance with a handsome, benevolent prince have the power to draw in an audience. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A lush adventure tale set in 1720. Another winter is settling in the Caucasus, and Laleena's artist father is missing. In his absence, the girl helps support her family by growing what food she can. She practices her own artwork and discovers that she has a way with growing rare and highly prized tulips. Nevertheless, it is not enough. To keep her family from starving, she enters a marriage deal, but finds herself instead in the hold of a slave ship bound for Istanbul. Fortunately, she is sold into the harem of the ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. At Topkapi Palace, she is given a new identity as Leyla and apprenticed to the Mistress of the Flowers. Evocative descriptions abound: of the history of the tulips, of the riches and demands of harem life, and of the strange demeanor of the eunuchs who guard the women. Leyla cannot avoid courting trouble-she commits the unforgivable Muslim sin of drawing reproductions of nature; the perfect work of Allah is not to be reproduced by human hands. But her creative skills soon gain the beneficent attentions of one of the Sultan's wives and a young prince. Leyla's adventures may stretch credibility, but the friendships and intrigues, and the glimpses of court manners, customs, and history make Black Tulip an entertaining, informative, and vivid read.-Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Georgiap. 1
2 The First Tulipsp. 5
3 Growing Tulipsp. 9
4 The Strangersp. 14
5 The Daring Choicep. 21
6 Voyage to Istanbulp. 27
7 City of the World's Desirep. 39
8 The Poet's Giftp. 46
9 Master Hyacinthp. 53
10 Beyond the Gate of Felicityp. 58
11 Leylap. 67
12 The Mistress of the Gardensp. 76
13 Harem Lifep. 80
14 Winterp. 91
15 The Royal Halvetp. 96
16 The Most Beautiful Clothesp. 114
17 The Hall of the Sultanp. 118
18 The Secret Paintingsp. 125
19 The Dark Prisonp. 133
20 Princess Fatmap. 140
21 Anticipationp. 147
22 The Miraclep. 155
23 Heart's Desirep. 168
Then and Nowp. 183
Glossaryp. 190