A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata

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A boy and his elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village immediately after the Vietnam war.

About Cynthia Kadohata

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Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Kira-Kira, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She has published numerous short stories in such literary journals as the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Grand Street, and the Mississippi Review. She lives with her son and dog in West Covina, California.Julia Kuo is the creator of 20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals as well as the charming board book Everyone Eats. Julia also created the cover and interior artwork for Newbery Medal winning author Cynthia Kadohata’s The Thing About Luck and New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han’s Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream. She lives in Chicago.
Published December 26, 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 228 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Action & Adventure, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Still, “[a]ll his father thought about was the war, and all Y’Tin thought about was elephants.” While it’s true that Y’Tin, a matter-of-fact 13-year-old with an easy confidence, obsesses about Lady, his hardworking elephant charge, she becomes only one of his many concerns.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of A Million Shades of Gray

Publishers Weekly

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As the days go by, he becomes angrier and less trusting, wondering “if he would ever feel safe again or if safety was gone from his life forever.” Illustrating the wisdom of Y’Tin’s father’s words—“The jungle changes a man”—Kadohata delves deep into the soul of her protagonist while making a fara...

Dec 14 2009 | Read Full Review of A Million Shades of Gray

The Bookbag

The Montagnard way of life is vividly explored with all sorts of homely details that truly bring Tin and his family to life - their culture, their homes, their attitudes, their diet - it's all here, worked seamlessly into the story with real flavour.

Nov 24 2012 | Read Full Review of A Million Shades of Gray


Sometimes the boy thinks a lot about what he’s doing and why, and sometimes he doesn’t think at all, but simply does what is necessary to survive—just as in real life.

Jun 18 2015 | Read Full Review of A Million Shades of Gray


His Dega tribe has long had a relationship with the American troops fighting the North Vietnamese --- many men like Y’Tin’s own father have assisted the American Special Forces in exchange for a promise that the Americans will always defend the Dega if the North Vietnamese break their treaty agre...

Nov 01 2011 | Read Full Review of A Million Shades of Gray

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