❮Read❯ ➳ The Girl Who Saw Lions Author Berlie Doherty – Transportjobsite.co.uk


10 thoughts on “The Girl Who Saw Lions

  1. says:

    Everything about this book is great, the characters, the emotions , the feelings everything.
    This book have a full life of two girls who are struggling with their own problems.
    Abela, the intelligent yet unlucky.
    Rosa, the girl with the fear of losing his mother's love.

    It was seriously a good book to read, easy and fully defined each and every topic.


  2. says:

    Abela is just 9 years old and she has already lost her father, mother and baby sister to the AIDS epidemic that is sweeping through her village in Tanzania. With her uncle scheming to get back to England she soon finds herself living in a strange country with a virtual stranger and her life will never be the same again. At 13 Rosa is the only child of a single mother living in Sheffield. When her mother announces that she wants to adopt a child from Africa she is horrified - why would her mother want another daughter? Isn't she good enough? Can Rosa come to terms with the idea of someone else joining her family and will Abela be able to get away from her Uncle and his plans for her?

    As I reviewed this book as part of a campaign to raise awareness about HIV & AIDS to coincide with World AIDS Day I'm going to kick off the review talking about the beginning of the story while Abela is still in Africa. Berlie Doherty paints a vivid picture of life in Tanzania and does a great job of showing just how devastating the AIDS epidemic has been in Abela's village. Abela and her mother face a long and difficult journey just to get to the nearest hospital and the scenes when they get there brought tears to my eyes. It was heartbreaking to think that this is probably a reality that thousands are still facing every day.

    The story is told from both Abela and Rosa's perspectives in alternating chapters. I have to say I found the switches between first & third person a little confusing at first but it didn't take me too long to get used to the writing style. At first I found myself getting very annoyed with Rosa and her selfish attitude towards adopting another child - especially when you're comparing her easy life to the hell that Abela is facing so stoically - but then I started thinking about how I would have reacted myself at her age and in her situation. I think her reaction was probably quite realistic and I enjoyed watching her thought process as she came to terms with the idea. Rosa really does a lot of growing up by the end of the story. Abela quickly earned a place in my heart, she has been through so much in her short life that it makes you desperate to see a happy ending for her. I think my only slight complaint about the story would be that I would have liked to have seen the ending through her eyes rather than Rosa's - I wanted to know what she thought of the situation she ended up in. That is only a minor issue though and definitely not worth making a big issue over.

    Abela: The Girl Who Saw Lions touches on a lot of interesting topics that I've not come across much in YA fiction obviously AIDS being one of them but also child abuse, trafficking, immigration, fostering, adoption and multicultural families. It is a story that will break your heart into a thousand tiny pieces and although by the end it will put you back together again it will change you forever in the process. I'd highly recommend the story for both adults and teens and am definitely going to be looking out for more of Berlie Doherty's books in the future


  3. says:

    AMAZING. Just Amazing. Although this book was very predictable, Abela would get orphaned and end up in England and then get adopted by Rosa and her mum, it was still good. By the way I know it was like a spoiler but it basically says that in the blurb so ya.


  4. says:

    I loved this book! Everything about it. The plot, the characters, the format, the language, I loved every bit of it and I couldn't put it down!

    This book follows the lives of Abela and Rose. Abela is a 9 year old African girl who lives in poverty in Tanzania. She has lost her mother, father and younger sister due to the epidemic of AIDS in her country. Her uncle comes and takes her away from her grandmother and sends her to England because he believes she will have a better life there. Her life is changed forever after many obstacles and struggles, she gets adopted. Rose is a 13 year old girl who happily lives in Sheffield with her mother and she is frustrated with the news that her mother wants to adopt a little girl. Little does she know, her new sister will soon become her new best friend.

    I decided to read this book because it is about a girl who gets adopted, and my grandmother is adopted, so I thought it would be interesting to know what it's like. Also, when I picked it up off the shelf, someone came past me and told me they read it last year and it was a great book. I 100% agree.

    The category on the bingo board that this book fits into is the category "A book that teaches you about another culture other than your own." I really likes this category, because to my surprise, it wasn't to hard to find a book to fit into it and it was very interesting. I loved reading about the differences in Abela and Rose's lives and how completely opposite they were!

    My favourite quote from the book was just after Abela had found out about her sister death and she thought to herself; "And this was all a new thing for me to think about; to live or to die, to be sick or to be healthy, was it all a matter of chance? Could this be true?" I loved this quote, it really stood out for me because it's very though provoking. It made me realise how little people who live in poverty have and yet they still manage to carry on with life, just by thinking that life and death was about chance. I think that it re-enforced the kind of person that Abela is.

    Something new I learnt from this book is not to take ANYTHING for granted, because everything can me taken away from you so quickly, just like what happened to Abela. She lost her mother, father and sister, then she was taken away from her only loving family member and all her friends and people she had grown to love. She was taken away from her life. She was forced into and unknown world of wealthy people who thought nothing of her. She had lost everything and she was only 9. I think this is a very important lesson to learn because people who don't have much to live by, still manage to live with a smile on their face, but people who have everything someone could ask for always find something to complain about and they don't realise how lucky they are.

    A character in this book that was interesting to me was Miss Carrington. She was a woman who saw Abela while she was visiting Africa and she gave her money to buy medicine, and she was also one of the social workers in England. I loved Miss Carrignton because she was such a lovely person who did her best to understand what Abela had gone through and she tried her best to relate to her, even though it was hard. She helped Abela in every way possible and I think she is a very courageous and inspiring character.

    I give this book 5 out of 5! Highly recommend to anyone! (This book is also called "Abela" as well as "The Girl Who Saw Lions.")


  5. says:

    DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

    The Girl Who Saw Lions is a middle-grade book dealing with a lot of complex and deeply emotional issues, including HIV and adoption. The novel follows Rosa and Abela, two young girls who are dealing with their own lives and issues before eventually being tied together.

    I thought the way the novel dealt with these issues was very skilled. This book is clearly one for use in schools, providing a springboard for discussions and a place to consider opinions and personal reactions. There was enough detail to provide an inkling of what was going on and what had happened, but not too much to be depressing to younger readers. A reader would be able to go on and talk to the adults in their life and learn more about these hardships of life. They’re not something that you would particularly like to talk to children about, especially the treatment Abela receives at the hands of her uncle, but it is something that they need to learn about at some point in their life.

    That being said, the treatment Abela receives is horrific. The contrast with Rosa’s life helps illustrate this fact, presenting a clear distinction between the difficulties faced in the Western world with those of Africa. The novel helps to teach more about the way the world works and to think beyond one’s own life into how you can help someone else who may be struggling more than yourself.

    Rosa’s character, for this reason, was tough to like at first. The sheer contrast between herself and Abela in terms of their reactions to their hardships made it difficult to get attached to Rosa. The fact that Abela is a few years younger than Rosa as well made it even harder to like her, as Abela was nowhere near as stroppy as the latter. The language used by her was also quite childish and did not seem to fit with the rest of her character. However, the contrast between the two of them helped to break up Abela’s narrative and provide a short moment of less drama (although it still contained dramatic elements for sure).

    All in all, I think this was a great children’s book. Novels like this, that can provide a platform for conversation alongside entertainment, are what I like most about children’s literature. Anything that can encourage further learning whilst also encouraging reading itself is great in my book (no pun intended).

    5 stars.


  6. says:

    It’s a sweet, compassionate read (for children of around 8-14).


    I hated it at first because I wrongly assumed it was adult fiction trying to talk down to me. But then I realized it was for children, and could begin to see its beauty, magic and warmth.


    Abela lives in Tanzania, and is rooted to her home and customs. Rosa is in London, safe with her mother and grandparents. They are destined to meet. But how and where?


    It’s like reading an Enid Blyton, or a Jacqueline Wilson. I would highly recommend it to parents trying to teach their children about the wider world, about privilege and freedom, sisterhood and sharing, adoption and race, and even female genital mutilation and AIDS. The novel carefully tries to weave all of these in. There’s also a little but significant surprise about Rosa’s identity that fits in beautifully.


    Some things appear sanitized to me as an adult reader, but would have been a revelation if I’d read it earlier. The writer also makes serious attempts to present and respect the African culture.


    I’m now going to hand this over to the the mother of a nearly-teenaged daughter I know, I’m sure she will like it.


  7. says:

    Middle-grade fiction: age 11-14. 4.5/5 stars.

    A compelling middle-grade read, told from the dual perspectives of two girls whose lives are ultimately joined.

    Thirteen-year-old Rosa lives is England with her single-parent mom and loves her life just the way it is. When Rosa’s mom announces her plans to adopt, Rosa feel hurt and rejected. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Abela lives in rural Tanzania, born into a family devastated by HIV. An illness whose effects young Abela cannot not comprehend. Still reeling from the deaths of her mom and baby sister, Abela’s uncle rips her away from her grandmother and home, trafficking her to England with the intention to sell her.

    The treatment Abela suffers throughout the novel is disturbing, and it is the honesty of its content that makes The Girl Who Saw Lions such a relevant and moving read. The parallel storylines dramatically narrate Abela’s horrendous ordeal without dismissing Rosa’s own inner struggles as “insignificant by comparison.” And it is the equality of its storylines that make this read so deeply resonant for young readers. Abela’s ordeal is horrendous not because her life is being mirrored against Rosa’s developed-world upbringing—but because Abela’s ordeal truly is horrendous. This eye-opening and thought-provoking story will spark many questions in young readers, making it ideal for classroom settings and family discussions.


  8. says:

    I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book at first - I thought it offered quite a reductive portrait of Tanzania, but further into the book it expanded this and showed the author really loved the country. My one real criticism is that Rosa is supposed to be thirteen, yet she has the emotional maturity of an eight year old. It was a little bit jarring, as were the constant changes in narrator mid-chapter. I did get sucked into it at the end though, and really grew to love Abela. I would recommend this book for children learning about Tanzania or immigration - it would stimulate some great classroom discussion about other countries, and how it would feel for a child moving to a new country. I just wish that Rosa was as young as she sounds!

    (I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)


  9. says:

    A fantastic story of two very different cultures- Tanzania and England. A story of two very different girls who end up becoming sisters. Very relevant, current story!


  10. says:

    It's about a quarter of the way through before the story actually gets moving. Quite a boring read for me.


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  • Paperback
  • 236 pages
  • The Girl Who Saw Lions
  • Berlie Doherty
  • English
  • 21 January 2019

About the Author: Berlie Doherty

Berlie Doherty née Hollingsworth is an English novelist, poet, playwright and screenwriter. She is best known for children's books, for which she has twice won the Carnegie Medal.She has also written novels for adults, plays for theatre and radio, television series and libretti for children's opera.