Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear


From the earliest age, after a shocking accidental discovery, Trang Nguyen was committed to becoming a wildlife conservationist. Despite many obstacles, she won a place volunteering at Cat Thien rescue centre, which cared for many animals savaged and hurt by human intervention in their lives. What’s more, she worked at the bear rescue centre.

Sorya is a baby sun bear, that Trang is charged with rehabilitating to the wild. Yet how do you train a sun bear to climb, stop sucking its toes and fingers and then to stand up for itself when other bears and animals steal your food? What’s more, how on earth do you find a safe forest to return her to, when dams, deforestation and poachers seem to have removed all options?

Bookwagon loves and recommends Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear. Alongside a biography and true story are Jeet Zdung’s graphic images which elevate the story and sequence it wonderfully. These take us deep into the forest alongside emphasising the grave concerns Trang and other conservationists have about the effects of humans on animal lives. This title is one to read alone, share and discuss and deserves a place at home, and school, too.

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Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear

Base on a True Adventure

Written by Trang Nguyen, illustrated by Jeet Zdung

(Pan Macmillan)- hardback

It was the discovery of the bear that inspired Chang’s determination to become a wildlife conservationist. Despite opposition that included claims she was too young, it was a Westerner’s profession and then not for a female, she worked with determination. Thereafter, after much effort, she was accepted as a volunteer in Cat Tien National Park. It seems that this opportunity opened Chang’s eyes to the world and then for the work involved in caring for wild creatures. What’s more, it offered her real experience of working with animals, especially when she worked ‘at the bear rescue centre’.
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear documents Chang’s work and discoveries, alongside focusing on her work with an abandoned ursine baby. Furthermore we learn about the Vietnamese landscape within the scheme of development, poaching and deforestation. Then we learn how Chang’s committed encouragement alongside finding a safe forest, enabled Chang’s rehabilitation to the forest.
Like A Book of Bears, there is information about bears, specifically sun bears and their unique behaviour and role within the forest. Then again, this is also a biography of Trang Nguyen and her work with WildAct.
Jeet Zdung’s graphic illustrations elevate the story wonderfully. What’s more the storytelling, with its urgent sequencing and rich settings, is absorbing. Bookwagon loves and recommends Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear. We recommend this book highly to schools, and home readers too.


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