Moon Bear by Gill Lewis

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Gill Lewis is a vet. I can't imagine she treats many bears in Somerset, but she writes an utterly convincing story of ursine – and human – behaviour.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Both torn from their homes in Laos, a boy and a moon bear cub form a deep bond in this “moving and memorable” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) tale of impossible odds and resilient hope, based on true and tragic conditions in Eastern Asia.

Twelve-year-old Tam, on a dare, ventures into a moon bear den in the mountains of Northern Laos. His goal is to steal the cub and sell it, making a fortune for his family. But the mother bear’s unexpected return upends Tam’s plan, and he barely escapes with his life. And then his life implodes anyway: his entire mountain village is made to relocate to make room for a new highway. Lured by the promise of electricity, running water, and a television, Tam’s people move to an overcrowded village, where Tam’s father is killed by a stray landmine.

Now the family breadwinner, Tam is forced to work hundreds of miles away in the city of Laos, at a moon bear farm where bile from bear gall bladders is used for medicine. It is a cruel, miserable place, and when a familiar face—the very cub he’d seen in the den in Vietnam—is sold to the bear farm, Tam knows he must save this moon bear, no matter what it takes.

Deeply and powerfully moving, Moon Bear is an unforgettable story of compassion, hope, and bravery against overwhelming odds, and brings to light the real-life, heartwrenching plight of Asia’s endangered moon bears.
 

About Gill Lewis

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Before she could walk, Gill Lewis was discovered force-feeding bread to a sick hedgehog under the rose bushes. Now her stories reflect her passion for wild animals in wild places. She draws inspiration from many of the people she has had the fortune to meet during her work as a vet, both at home and abroad. Gill Lewis has a Masters degree in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and won the 2009 course prize for the most promising writer. She lives in Somerset with her young family and a motley crew of pets. She writes from a shed in the garden, in the company of spiders. Gill's first novel, Sky Hawk, has won or been nominated for a total of twenty-three book awards to date, including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, the Red House Children's Book Award, and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, White Dolphin, published in May 2012 to huge critical acclaim.
 
Published March 17, 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. 385 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Travel.
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Critic reviews for Moon Bear
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Nov 18 2014

There is sufficient Laotian history and culture woven in to provide an authentic, intriguing setting, along with just the right measure of suspense.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lottie Longshanks on Mar 16 2013

I think this one is the most challenging one for both the reader and the writer. It must have taken a lot of research to write and it makes me think of places and things that are very upsetting. It is so gripping that I could hardly put it down. It will make you angry, sad and sometimes happy.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Mary Hoffman on Jun 28 2013

Gill Lewis is a vet. I can't imagine she treats many bears in Somerset, but she writes an utterly convincing story of ursine – and human – behaviour.

Read Full Review of Moon Bear | See more reviews from Guardian

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