Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton tells the story of Chanda, a teen girl who helps her mother and younger siblings. The story is set in a fictional country in Sub-Saharan Africa. When the story begins, Chanda's baby sister has just died from what we later find out is AIDS.
This story follows Chanda as she tries to keep her family together while trying to grow up and go to school as he mother struggles with her own health. This story is quite complex as Stratton weaves together the tale of Chanda's history, her friends, her family, and her community. This book is well written and hard to put down.
I found myself wanting to know what would happen to Chanda, her mother, and her siblings. I loved her dedication to her friend and to her mother. I also liked that Stratton wrote her as a complex character who wasn't perfect but instead was human.
I loved the ending of this story and how Stratton shows the value of honesty and the importance of truth in keeping people safe. I feel that I can't adequately describe the nuances of this story or the plot line without giving spoilers. This book deserved the Snow Willow Award it earned and being nominated for the Michael L. Printz award.
This book is well researched and written. Thank you, Allan Stratton for a book that could save lives.
Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We are in need of Spanish books at this time, especially board books. We can always use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the book you donate.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.