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Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  434 ratings  ·  81 reviews
In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in--and certain death on her husband's funeral pyre--only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people.
India, 1857

Meera's future ha
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published February 24th 2021 by Tu Books
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I read only a handful of middle grade novels every year, that too usually fantasy somehow related to Asia because despite feeling that the age group is not for me, I want to support Asian authors always. But when I saw that this book was gonna be a historical fiction set in pre-independent India, I couldn’t resist.

There are hardly any books in YA or younger age groups that are on my radar which explore the colonization of India/South Asia in any meaningful way, so this novel set just after the
B | crumbledpages
Jul 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gifted
The time is 1857. Our country is under the British Rule. We are oppressed. Our fellow country people are dying of famine or oppression. This is the story of a 12 year old girl, Meera, who lives amid this scenario.

Meera’s marriage has been fix with Krishna but she don’t want to marry. But what can she do? She has no choice but to marry him. Meera wants to study but cannot because her father thinks education is reserved only for the boys. After all what would she do with education when she is to e
Sayantoni Das
Jul 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
The year is 1857. A year that witnessed one of the greatest revolts in Indian history. Meera is a young girl, who runs from her dying fate to live a life of freedom. Freedom is relative, because she frees herself from the clutches of the society and unwittingly jumps right into the arms of the East India Company. We have read about all the social evils persisting back then. Child marriage, Sati, no education for women, and so on. And with the East India Company in picture, racism scoops a big pa ...more
Sep 01, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2021-releases
MG historical fiction?? Set during the British Raj in India?! Deals with hard themes like child marriage? OOOFFF!
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
How much power does a 13-year-old girl have? Especially one who has the ill-fate of being a victim of the Sati System, fleeing to save herself, not wanting to follow her husband to the nether world? Can she be like Meera Bai, who refused to jump into her husband's pyre, who led her life singing Krishna's devotional songs? Or like Jhansi Ki Rani, bringing up a rebellion against the British and who died fighting, setting an example for women. Meera, just a slip of a girl, proved she could do this ...more
Aug 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Set against the backdrop of India during 1857 when indians were under the colonial power, Strong as fire, Fierce as Flame is an enchanting Historical Fiction novel with a strong female protagonist.

Meera is almost thirteen when she runs away from her house pushed to do so by the venomous sting of the Sati Pratha. At the beginning she is confused, often caught between conflicting emotions and battling her feelings.
The book also talks about old inhuman religious traditions that pushed women on the
Oct 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
Reading more south asian books written by south asian authors is something I’m really trying to prioritise as a reader & this was the first. Meera was a wonderful character, I could relate to so many pressures she faced as a south asian girl.

I loved her fierce nature & strength as well as her relationships with different characters & complexities to each character

& i also loved the author at the end of the book giving so much historical data, timelines, glossaries. It’s a beautiful piece of wo
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
In 1857 India, 13-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in—and certain death on her husband's funeral pyre—only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against British colonizers spreads, she must choose between relative safety in a British household or standing up for herself and her people. ...more
Shirley Freeman
When I was in school (a long time ago), I remember learning about the Dutch and British East India Companies. My impression at the time was that they were positive or neutral entities and I didn't really question it much. I don't know what kids learn today but this novel, told from the point of view of some of the people being colonized, will help round out kid's understanding of the situation. Meera, from a small village in India in 1857, is about to turn 13, which means she will need to join t ...more
Jerry Jennings
Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar, 2021, is Young Adult historical fiction about Meera, a young 12-year-old girl about to turn 13 living in India in 1857.
The story takes the reader to a continent many are not too familiar with. And more, may not have any historical reference for India during the time this story takes place. It is set in time of over 160 years ago. This is 90 years before India gained independence from British colonial rule.
During colonial rule there were many,
Krutika Puranik
Jun 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An utterly fantastic book that had me hooked from the very beginning. The subject matter is hard for anyone to digest, especially children, but the story is riveting in every way. I read this author's other historical fiction book for children, Ahimsa, and felt it was just as powerful, so I look forward to anything coming from this author going forward! ...more
Charlie N.
Jul 09, 2022 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Hottinger
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book! Meera’s life and death is planned for her, but she is strong and will fight to live as she wishes! Historical fiction focusing on Meera’s experience during the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857. I learned a great deal about culture, colonization, and the hurt caused.

Book talked in my classroom today! Already a waitlist to read it! Copy ordered!
Dec 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
As a childhood fan of A Little Princess and other British books that took place in India, this was a little hard of a book to get through, because of the firm exposure of the realities of colonialism - the exploration, the deaths, the suffering. I definitely had moments of discomfort as a reader, seeing myself reflected in the white characters. But discomfort is important and Kelkar's story is realistic but not unkind.

My only quibbles was the expectation that a 13 year old, sheltered child, sho
Apr 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent middle grade book. I am excited to share it as next year’s global read aloud. The characters are well drawn but what a I most appreciated was an unvarnished look at the impact of colonialism. For too long children’s literature has glossed over the awful parts and made colonial India (and so many other parts of the world) seem romantic. This book takes an honest look at what it felt like to be the oppressed people and does it in an age appropriate way. I really appreciated th ...more
Jan Raspen
Apr 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: ms-appropriate
I think it is very important for student readers to see themselves in books, so I am happy to have this book in my middle school library. I love when I learn things from historical fiction.
A couple things, though, have me wondering about this book. The horrifying practice of sati--women self-immolating on their deceased husbands' funeral pyres--is at the core of this novel. Our main character Meera runs away from her family after her husband dies fighting for the resistance. Meera was expected
David Vance
Oct 15, 2022 rated it liked it
This was a solidly decent book. It’s good to teach about colonization, and it was really interesting to hear about some aspects of a Indian culture.

Unfortunately, it was a little on the nose at some points, and somehow, even in the action, I just didn’t find this book as compelling as I thought it should be for a Global Read-Aloud book. It was just the plot, characterization, and writing style… they weren’t quite what they needed to be.
Patti Barker
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-posse
On the eve of her 13th birthday Meera, a young Indian girl growing up in a small village in 1857 under British rule, prepares to join the family of the boy she was married off to several years prior. When Krishna, her young husband is killed in a riot, her family and his both expect her to commit sati and join him in the afterlife by throwing herself on his funeral pyre.
Meera is smart, even though she has no formal education, and she know she deserves more than what her family and Krishna's want
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Replete with backmatter, including an Author's Note, Timeline, Glossary, and a Historical Note that includes summaries of various historical events with sources.

This story is only one of many that might take place in 19th century India. Meera must confront complacency with strength and must decide whether she values personal freedom more than collective freedom. Meera's family has arranged a suitable marriage for her, a situation that Meera does not look forward to but is not unfamiliar or su
Every parent should make their little ones read books like Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame by Supriya Kelkar. This is one such children’s book with comes with a strong message and it is fiercely feminist. A take on colonialism through middle-grade which everyone needs right now!

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame is set at the time of the British Raj in India in 1857. It follows the story of a 12-year-old girl Meera about to turn 13 and that was also supposed to be her wedding day. Little did Meera
Set in India during 1857 and 1858, this historical fiction follows the adventures of Meera, a twelve-year-old girl who dreads but reluctantly accepts her arranged marriage to a boy from a nearby village. But when he is killed in a riot, Meera's father and the boy's family expect her to burn herself on his funeral pyre out of respect and because that is traditional in their Hindu sect. Meera flees with assistance from an unexpected ally, and ends up being befriended by others sympathetic to her p ...more
This is already probably one of my favourite reads of 2021, but that that does not mean it was a fun, light-hearted expierence.

One of the trickiest aspects of writing historical fiction for children are all the horrors of the past. What can and cannot be included is very much a question of personal opinion. Kelkar manages to discuss hard themes and topics without ever having to write disturbing images that may scare some children. She shows the complexity of Indian culure, and while the main cha
Oct 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
📚 Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame🔥
📖 𝐛𝐲 Supriya Kelkar

#CelebratingIndianAuthors Readathon continues with this book📚📖
Also the #tbrpilereadathon
Hosted by @theoldbookbarn and @letstalkbooksandmore
Prompt 10. Book published in 2021✨
🔖 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Historical fiction| Indian literature
🔖 𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬: In 1857 India, 12-year-old Meera escapes a life she has no say in--and certain death on her husband's funeral pyre--only to end up a servant to a British general in the East India Company. When a rebellion against Br
Mandi Ruscher-Haqq
Jun 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this historical fiction MG about young Meera, widowed at 13 and escaping from the fate of Sati, where a wife would burn on her husband's funeral pyre to guide him into the afterlife. Kelkar had a hard job, balancing making this story realistic while demonstrating that this is not a current practice, nor was it as widespread as we would believe, although it still had a presence.

She does an excellent job of bringing us a story of joy from young women and soldiers and the struggle
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
"This book is in honor of brave children everywhere, speaking up and speaking out against injustice, violence, patriarchy, and colonialism to ensure that equality and equity exist in their generation and beyond."

What a wonderful and important book. In 1847, Meera is turning 13 and is preparing to go live with her husband (they were married at 4 years old). But the night before, her husband is killed in a riot. Meera and her husband's family want her to commit sati and sacrifice herself in her h
Sep 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Meera longs to learn how to read and write, but when her father sees her spying on the boys' lessons, she is punished. Meera's life has been focused on learning how to be a good wife. Her thirteenth birthday is approaching, and when it arrives she will move out of her parents' house and into her husband's. She dreads the day, but when it finally comes something even worse happens, and she is forced to flee for her life. She finds work in the house of a British officer. She is safe, but their con ...more
Feb 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
The beginning of Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame had somewhat of a slow start, and I had a hard time getting into it. But once the plot sped up, I was intrigued and found myself sucked into the story. I loved Meera and how her character developed throughout the story. It’s always satisfying witness a character’s mindset change in a book. Even though the ending wasn’t exactly the one I was expecting (it left me wanting to read more of Meera’s story), I still liked it and was pleased with what I h ...more
Oct 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for the captivating historical fiction novel. Set in 1857 India, it follows the brave journey of 13-year-old Meera as she escapes a forced death after her technically, barely husband dies in a riot. When her father expects her to commit sita, meaning she throws herself on the fire at her husband’s funeral, her aunt helps her escape. On the run, she meets another girl close to her age who is looking for her sister. Meera discovers that they are part of a group of rebels looking to ov ...more
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