Listening for Lions *****
by Gloria Whelan
Overview: Rachel Sheridan is a missionary kid in Africa. Her parents die of disease, and she is forced to stay with an English family nearby. This family has just lost their only daughter to disease, and they devise a plan to use Rachel to impersonate their daughter and get them a fortune.
Themes: honesty, family, African life, working hard to achieve your goals
Positive elements: The story is well-written and full of wonderful descriptions of life in Africa. Rachel learns that living a lie will burden you, and you must tell the truth no matter what may happen.
Negative elements: Lots of people die due to disease. Rachel is pretty much kidnapped and made to live a lie. The family that takes her is very manipulative and treats her poorly.
Conclusion: I found this book because it was on a reading list of good books about Africa. I truly felt like I was in Kenya, at a remote missionary hospital, following Rachel around. And after she is kidnapped, I struggled with her on when it is right to lie and when the truth must be told. I would recommend this book to older elementary kids just because of all the death at the beginning of the book and her mistreatment of her "kidnappers."