Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear

By Author / Illustrator

Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Jeet Zdung



Age range(s)



Pan Macmillan








Written by scientist and environmental activist Trang Nguyen, 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 endlessly curious 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 illustrations and STEM facts galore, Chang's daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer who's ready for adventure!



Wow!!! One of the best graphic novels for KS2 I have ever read! Saving Sorya - Chang and the Sun Bear is so beautifully illustrated by Jeet Zdung. The story, which was influenced by Trang Nguyen's (the author) own childhood, growing up in Vietnam when she met a moon bear.

The book includes lots of information about conservation and the devastating impact humans have on wildlife and their environments. It is an excellent book for Upper KS2 due to the themes which run throughout. Resilience and the point when you understand 'need to let go' are some of these themes. Chang, after witnessing something truly horrific – a bear bile farm near her home - decides that she wants to save animals. She faces much opposition due to her young age, gender and inability to understand English.

However, Chang is very resilient and works hard to learn English and speaks regularly to conservationists from all over the world to ensure these barriers are removed. She volunteers at Cat Tien National Park and with Free The Bears – an organisation that rescues bears from bile farms all over southeast Asia. Chang plays an important part in the early life of Sorya, a sun bear, who is found without a mother, and takes on the task of reintroducing her back into the wild. The journey they take demonstrates the impact just one person can have on the survival of a species. It was truly heart-breaking and heart-warming when the time came for Chang to leave Sorya, but having found her home and future, Chang had done her job!

This is truly an amazing story – inspired by real events – which is enhanced by the wonderful illustrations.

120 pages / Reviewed by Donna Ritchie, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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