A book the whole family should read.

Summary:

Saroo Brierley (5) lives with his mother, two older brothers, and a younger sister. One day, Saroo accompanies his brother Gudda who works in a nearby town. While Gudda is at work, Saroo stays at the train station. He falls asleep, and when he wakes up, his brother has not returned. He boards a train going in the direction opposite of his home town and ends up in Kolkata (Calcutta). Hungry, alone, and afraid, Saroo manages to survive weeks on the streets before being taken to an orphanage. When the court can't determine his full name or where he came from, he is declared lost. He is eventually adopted by a couple from Australia.

Saroo has a new loving family, but never forgets the family from whom he is separated. As an adult, he spends months using Google Earth in search of his home. When he stumbles across the town, he decides to return to India. He is able to locate his old home but learns that his mother does not live there anymore. Some locals recognize his mother's name and lead him to a nearby place where he is united with his mother for the first time in 25 years. 


BTSYA  Volunteer Adult Reviewer (14):
This is an astonishing true story based on two parts of Saroo Brierley's life. The book is very emotional and emphasizes family bonds. Reading about Saroo’s time on the streets as a young boy is hard to fathom, but it also helps to understand the extent of poverty in that region and the challenges children and their families face.

The story has a strong message to never give up on the things you believe in. Lion: A Long Way Home is a terrific book to add to your home library. I recommend you buy this book for the entire family, and specifically readers ages 13 and up.

Parent Perspective:
We were introduced to Saroo's story by our 16-year-old daughter. She read the book and then saw the movie, which is what she shared with us. It is a powerful, emotional story and is "gritty" in its realism. The sense of danger is much more overpowering in the movie than in the book, including the efforts to trick Saroo and exploit him as a boy prostitute.


Content Awareness Factors:

The story of Saroo's family and poverty, as well as being placed in "foster care" may upset some readers. Although it is not explicit, there are references to child trafficking and child exploitation.


Type of Book:
This is a memoir written by a boy separated from his biological family for 25 years.
Educational Themes:

In addition to its story about family and being adopted, Saroo's story also introduces readers to a culture very different from theirs. For example, children caring for themselves when their parents are away working, they live on the street, and they work instead of attending school. These distinctions - as well as the economics of life in other countries - can engage readers not only in cultural awareness but also in building empathy.

Reading Level:
6.5
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 41
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a book you'll come back to, especially after you watch the movie.

Title Lion: A Long Way Home: A Memoir (Young Reader's Edition)
Author Saroo Brierly
Publisher Puffin Books, a Penguin Random House Company © 2017
ISBN 9780425291764
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Adoption, Family, Biography, Asia | Asian People
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