The Stone Lions,
by Gwen Dandridge
This cross-cultural fantasy combines mystery and math to teach the geometry of symmetry. In the last throes of the 14th century, Islamic Spain is under pressure from Castile and Aragon. Ara, the twelve-year old daughter to the Sultan, finds herself in the center of a political intrigue when her eunuch tutor is magically transformed by the evil Wazir. Intertwined in a mystery of math, art and magic, Ara races to find the seven broken symmetries before time runs out. Can a little girl save her friend and tutor with the help of a Sufi mathemagician? Will she succeed or will the Alhambra fall and with it all that she loves? And will the stone lions awaken in time to help her?
One reviewer at Amazon says, "I couldn't put it down."
One reviewer at Goodreads writes:
"The one hesitation I did have is that I usually don't like books that make an overt effort to teach something. Through the course of this book the magic and consequently the symmetries are taught to the main characters in a series of lectures. At first, I was lukewarm to these segue into lecture time. However, as the symmetries become more advanced I found the lectures interesting; particularly in how things that at first don't appear alike can be, all that it takes is different way of thinking about them. A 12 year old Muslim girl in medieval Spain can have a lot in common with 12 year old living in Southern California."
The book is available through Amazon.com here.
More reviews, a dictionary of frieze patterns, and symmetry quizzes are also available on Gwen Dandridge's website.