Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, illustrated by Jeet Zdung

Published by Dial Books

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear: Nguyen, Trang, Zdung, Jeet, Zdung,  Jeet: 9780593353639: Amazon.com: Books
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear: Nguyen, Trang, Zdung, Jeet, Zdung,  Jeet: 9780593353639: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  The author based this story on her life, portraying herself as a young girl named Chang who commits to becoming a wildlife conservationist after witnessing people extracting bear bile on a bear farm.  As she grows up, she’s given little encouragement due to her gender and age, but she persists in her goal, and eventually is accepted as a volunteer for an organization called Free the Bears.  There she meets a sun bear cub named Sorya and takes on the task of reintroducing her to the wild.  This proves to be a long process, since Sorya is shy and becomes attached to Chang.  Again, Chang’s persistence pays off, and after many months, Sorya gradually goes back to the wild.  Chang misses her friend, but is happy that Sorya is where she belongs.  128 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  This unusual graphic story features gorgeous artwork showing the forests of Vietnam and an inspiring story about a determined young woman who is able to make a difference with her conservation work.

Cons:  The scene at the bear farm is a bit disturbing.

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