To save an image, right click the thumbnail and choose "Save target as..." or "Save link as..."
|Bitter side of sweet|
Author: Sullivan, Tara
Kept as forced labor on a chocolate plantation in the Ivory Coast, Amadou and his younger brother Seydou had given up hope, until a young girl arrives at the camp who rekindles the urge to escape.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 179548
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 19.0 Quiz: 68131
School Library Journal (+) (00/01/16)
Booklist (+) (12/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2015 *Starred Review* Sullivan follows up the acclaimed Golden Boy (2013) with a sophomore effort that promises to be equally eye-opening for American readers. Fifteen-year-old Amadou and his younger brother, Seydou, have been away from Mali, their home, for two years, as they work at an Ivory Coast cacao plantation. Each day is an exhaustive effort as Amadou watches out for Seydou, the youngest worker there, and struggles to meet the day’s quota for the both of them. Just after a new worker arrives—a teenage girl, Khadija, who is bent on fleeing—the worst thing happens: Seydou loses his arm in a work accident. Suddenly Amadou thinks Khadija is onto something. But could they really escape? In crisp, accessible prose, Sullivan draws readers into a most compelling story of survival under unspeakable hardship, bravery, and teamwork. Amadou’s boundless love for his brother and his capacity for kinship with Khadija, whom he later discovers to be the kidnapped daughter of a journalist, is inspiring. There are so few stories for teenagers that provide a glimpse into the complex global systems, such as cocoa production, that they unwittingly participate in every day and likely take for granted. An author’s note, glossary, and source material provide further context to engage readers and teachers. Absorbing and important. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 Gr 8 Up—The title of Sullivan's second novel is more description than metaphor, as it recounts the misery of child slavery on cacao farms in Africa. Facing hunger because of drought in their native Mali, 13-year-old Amadou and his beloved brother Seydou seek work to help their family. When the novel opens two years later, Amadou muses, "I don't count how many trees we pass because I don't count the things that don't matter. I don't count unripe pods. I don't count how many times I've been hit for being under quota. I don't count how many days it's been since I've given up hope of going home." Hope returns in the person of Khadijah, a hostage who is determined to escape even after a brutal punishment, reluctantly witnessed by Amadou. Their daring departure leads to action and adventure, some requiring suspension of disbelief. But the thrilling language, for example, the description of a terrifying leap into a speeding truck from an overhanging tree, races readers past the need for credibility. The novel's message is clear when the travelers reach relative safety with Khadijah's mother and Amadou tastes hot chocolate for the first time: "You mean that for the past two years we were kept on that farm to grow something that's a treat for city kids who can't sleep?" Back matter includes a glossary, list of sources, and an author's note with information about the international chocolate business. Readers are urged to choose fair trade chocolate as a step toward alleviating poverty among small cacao growers. VERDICT An engaging story that will engender empathy in readers. —Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.