Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang

Illustrated by Jeet Zdung

Ages 7 to 11

2023 Winner

The CILIP Carnegie Medal

29 June 2023
120 pages


Winner of the 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration.

Written by wildlife activist and scientist Trang Nguyen – who was featured as one of the environmental heroes in episode eight of the BBC’s Planet Earth III – Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear is an inspirational graphic-novel adventure, based on a true story about a young conservationist who overcomes the odds to save a sun bear.

When Chang discovers a bear farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals – by becoming a conservationist. After teaching herself survival skills and learning all she can about the rainforest, Chang is finally accepted as a rescue centre volunteer. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she makes a vow to return Sorya – the sun bear she raised from infancy – back to the wild. Because despite being a different species, Sorya is Chang’s best friend. And letting a friend go is never easy, even when it’s the right thing to do.

With breathtaking graphic-novel style illustrations by award-winning manga artist Jeet Zdung, Chang’s daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer who’s ready for adventure!

'A beautiful, moving and uplifting tale of perseverance and overcoming challenge, and how small steps can make a big difference.' - BookTrust

'I cannot praise this book enough.' – Mat Tobin

'The epitome of wild and free.' - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

'Stirring and gorgeously rendered, this eco-conscious tale is a superb purchase for all libraries.' - School Library Journal, starred review

A beautiful, moving and uplifting tale of perseverance and overcoming challenge, and how small steps can make a big difference.
What an accomplishment. I cannot praise this book enough. Jeet Zdung's illustrations are incredible. Get this book.
Zdung’s use of watercolors in his frankly gorgeous illustrations enhances the rainforest setting, and the portrayals of its animal inhabitants are the epitome of wild and free. While the natural images tend to be realistic, the human characters are drawn in a manga-influenced style with elements like oversized eyes, large sweat drops, and speed lines. This blending of styles and varied panel layouts creates dynamic spreads and stunning page turns.