DEBUT: CHAINED (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, May 8, 2012)
The touching story of a boy and an elephant who have a friendship that’s stronger than any lock, shackle, or chain.
Ten-year-old Hastin’s sister has fallen ill, and his family must borrow money to pay for her care in the hospital. To work off the debt, Hastin leaves his village in northern India to work in a faraway jungle as an elephant keeper. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and punished until she learns her tricks perfectly. With the help of Ne Min, a wise old man who seems to know all about elephants, Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can. Still he wonders–will they both survive long enough to escape?
5 MOVIES FOR THE APOCALYPSE: I'm thinking we'll need some comic relief, since we'll have enough real-life drama, action, and zombies. So, for a little escape from the day-to-day adventures, I'd like to have these movies I can still laugh at after seeing them over and over again: Airplane, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Hangover, Love Actually. Oh, and we'll need to grab a generator to charge the portable DVD player.