Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton

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Stars: *****

I reviewed Stratton’s newest teen novel, Leslie’s Journal in October. I’d heard about Chanda’s Secrets and wanted to give it a try. I’m counting it towards the Africa Reading Challenge and 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.

Here’s a very simple summary: Chanda’s mother is not herself, her younger sister is acting out, and her best friend needs help. A powerful story set amid the African HIV/AIDS pandemic.

This book was heartbreaking. Although I’ve read about AIDS I don’t know anyone personally who has it (or at least that I know has it) so I’ve never experienced seeing a loved one deteriorate from the disease. This book almost made me feel like it WAS my loved one(s) who were suffering. The descriptions are amazing but it’s not overly descriptive (which I don’t like.)

The book isn’t set in any specific African country, just a fictional Sub-Saharan one. However the way life is depicted in the book is the way life is like in any Sub-Saharan African country.

This is one of those books that is so good you don’t know what to say. At this part of the author’s website, if you scroll down, you will find more info on the book including what the cover looks like around the world, the background of why the book was written, a YouTube interview with the author, an excerpt of Chapter One, praise, awards and citations, and a teacher’s guide. You can also check out the page for the book at it’s publisher, Annick Press. Check out the LONG list of Awards and Lists the book has made!

At this page I also learned there is a sequel that just came out called Chanda’s Wars (published through HarperCollins instead of Annick Press).

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.