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Girl Named Disaster, A: Reviewed

Author:Nancy Farmer
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 12 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 8 and up
Year of publication:1996

1997 Newbery Honor book. First person account of how a gifted Mozambiquen girl orphan survives and forges families -- with baboons, scientists, and her own kin -- for herself during a harrowing trip through the South African wilderness. Nhamo, the girl, must use all that she knows -- which foods to eat, what happens when the seasons change; how to consult/appease her spirit guardians -- to survive on her own on her long trek.

A lovely, interesting, intense survival story.

The first few chapters are stomach-churners, as the girl's aunt and other relatives consign her to the control of an evil witch-doctor. Similar to, but more graphic, than the treatment of Cinderella.

Subsequent chapters are fascinating and, while Nhamo does face danger at many junctures, it is thrilling to observe her making mostly good decisions and learning from her few, scary mistakes.

Other reviews: Girl Named Disaster, A
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