Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear By Trang Nguyen, Jeet Zdung, Jeet Zdung (Illustrator) Cover Image

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear (Hardcover)

$23.99


Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Staff Reviews


When eight-year-old Chang is walking home from school, she stumbles upon a bear farm where people are illegally harvesting bear bile. Scared and angry after seeing beautiful bears crying in cages, Chang makes herself a promise that day that she will become a wildlife conservationist and devote her life to the humane treatment of wild animals.
Based on the true story of author and wildlife conservationist Trang Nguyen, we follow Chang’s story as she makes her dream a reality. After finally being accepted into a position at Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam, Chang is able to volunteer with Free the Bears — an organization that rescues bears from bile farms all over southeast Asia. There, she meets a young sun bear cub named Sorya. Chang makes it her mission to train Sorya to be able to return to the wild and find the perfect place for her to live.
Beautiful story aside, this book is absolutely stunning. Breathtaking full-color graphics paint the pages, bringing Sorya and her countless other wildlife friends to life. Chang’s detailed field notes sprinkle the pages, giving us fun facts about bears but also her fears and hopes for Sorya as she adjusts to her new life.
Perfect for any and all of the animal-lovers in your life, Saving Sorya is sure to pull hard on your heartstrings. It’s easy to think graphic novels and middle grade books are just for kids, but Chang and Sorya had me convinced that I need to save the sun bears too.

— Leah

* "Perfect for animal-loving fans of Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and Rosanne Parry’s A Wolf Called Wander."—School Library Journal, starred review

An Eisner-nominated middle grade graphic novel adventure based on a true story, in which a young conservationist overcomes the odds to save and return a sun bear to its natural habitat.


When endlessly curious and tenacious Chang discovers a bear bile 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, documenting each rainforest plant and animal she sees in her field notebook, and disproving the critics who think she isn’t old enough or strong enough, Chang is finally accepted as a rescue center volunteer. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she’s tasked with returning Soryathe sun bear she raised from infancyback into 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 art and STEM facts galore, Chang’s daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer!
Trang Nguyen, born in Vietnam, knew from a young age that she wanted to be a wildlife conservationist and environmental activist. She obtained her PhD in Biodiversity Management from the University of Cambridge and is the founder and CEO of WildAct, a non-profit that helps monitor illegal wildlife trade markets. For her advocacy, Nguyen was awarded the prestigious Future for Nature Award in 2018 and named by the BBC as one of the 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019. This is her first children's book.

Jeet Zdung is an award-winning illustrator who fuses traditional Vietnamese art with manga, using pencils, watercolors, ink, and other digital means to create works of beauty and innovation. Courageous Chang, Defender of Bears is his first children's book published in the US. He resides in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Product Details ISBN: 9780593353639
ISBN-10: 0593353633
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Pages: 128
Language: English
Eisner Award honor
Kirkus Reviews
Best Books
School Library Journal Best Books

Texas' Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List selection
ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Society’s Outstanding Book Award finalist
Freeman Book Awards honor
National Science Teaching Association's Outstanding Science Trade Books

Vietnam National Book Award winner
Junior Library Guild selection


* “Uplifting . . . the epitome of wild and free. . . . Breathtaking visuals and a compelling story.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “Triumphant. . . . Heartfelt. . . . Stirring and gorgeously rendered, this eco-conscious tale is a superb purchase for all libraries.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“A perfect pick for animal lovers and young conservationists.”—Booklist

"Expressive, expansive."—The Horn Book