LONGLISTED FOR THE NORTH SOMERSET TEACHERS' BOOK AWARD MOVING ON CATEGORY
Imara, a young girl abducted from her home village, and Bobo, the son of a wildlife ranger, are imprisoned by rebel soldiers in the heart of the African jungle. When the rebels capture a baby gorilla which they plan to sell, the children vow to return it to the wild and escape. Should the children get caught, the consequences would be terrible...
Gill Lewis writes with a passion for living things which shines through all of her books. 'Gorilla Dawn' is the most thought provoking and challenging yet, looking at issues of exploitation- of children, of the environment, of the planet. It explores the devastating effects of war and how the selfish demands of the West can destroy life elsewhere in the world.
Through the eyes of the children, the reader is challenged to think about their responsibility to the natural world and the need to protect it. Topics like deforestation, civil war, the atrocities and devastation of conflict could all be considered and discussed and children (and adults) might well be inspired to find out more about some areas- for example the illegal/ unethical mining of coltan and the violation of Human Rights.
The children are individual, well drawn characters, allowing the reader to engage with them. Imara's role as 'Spirit Child' and her relationship with Kitwana, the baby gorilla, are particularly interesting.
This is a very touching, emotional story, but the message ultimately hopeful and the ending satisfying. The content and themes make it perfect for children at the 'moving on' stage who are looking for a challenging, but rewarding read.
Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis
OUP ISBN: 978-0192739179