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Chanda's Secrets (Chanda #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,550 ratings  ·  224 reviews
Chanda’s Secrets is a suspense-filled novel about a teenager who fights to rescue the people she loves. Through his dramatic storytelling, Allan Stratton captures the enduring strength of loyalty, the profound impact of loss, and a fearlessness that is powered by the heart. Above all, this is a story about living with truth.

“Smart and determined, Chanda is a character whom
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Published March 20th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published March 1st 2004)
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Allan Stratton
Jun 26, 2011 Allan Stratton added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition

I'm Allan Stratton, the author of CHANDA'S SECRETS. I love meeting readers and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just write me c/o this site, or, if you want to see all the foreign edition covers, at my website Also the movie trailer!

It was made into the movie LIFE, ABOVE ALL (a very close adaptation) that premiered at Cannes, spring 2010, and opens in North America through Sony Pictures Classics, July 2011.

CHANDA'S SECRETS is about a young woman wh
Bianca Jill
I find this book very tragic and heart breaking and touching, I couldn't help but cry a little. It has this HEAVY feel that stressed me because it's all about the problems of the character/speaker. I literally think now this is a book of problems. Overall, its a good book you can learn so much from.

The book deals with very sensitive topics such as prostitution, alcoholism, abuse, death,
and above all AIDS/HIV. And to be exposed in such delicate issue when you're just sixteen years old is frighte

Stratton, A. (2004). Chanda's secret. Toronto: Annick.

Genre: Multicultural

Michael L. Printz Honor Award 2005
Independent Publisher Book Awards Winner( IPPYs ) 2005
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards Winner 2004
CLA Young Adult Book Award Nominee 2005
Nominated to several state book award lists in 2007

Format: Print -paperback

Selection Process: YALSA Teen Book Finder, Bowker Books in Print

Chanda's Secrets is a gripping tale of 16 year old Chanda, who must deal with more secrets t
Kathleen Garber
This book was heartbreaking. Although I've read about AIDS I don't know anyone personally who has it (or at least that I know has it) so I've never experienced seeing a loved one deteriorate from the disease. This book almost made me feel like it WAS my loved one(s) who were suffering. The descriptions are amazing but it's not overly descriptive (which I don't like.)

The book isn't set in any specific African country, just a fictional Sub-Saharan one. However the way life is depicted in the book
I absolutely LOVED this book. Even though it is very tragic it was thoroughly written and made me feel all the emotions Chanda was going through. I rated this book 5 stars because it has a great plot, shows a lot about what Africa is like with the HIV virus, and shows courage and true bravery. This book was a great read, anyone who shows interest in this book should definitely read it.
Book Review
Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton
The main characters are Chanda, Esther, Lilian, and Jones. Chanda is very fearless and brave, because she doesn’t care the neighbours think about her or her family, and the only thing she is ashamed of is being ashamed. Esther is brave, but naïve, because she is a prostitute, because she wants to get her brothers and sisters together, because they were taken away from her. People use her, and then throw her away. Lilian is Chanda’s mother, and she i
This is one of the saddest, and best, books I’ve read this year. It’s a big theme book: AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. But my favorite moments are the more detailed observations of the 16-year-old narrator, Chanda Kabelo. “Next door to the Tafas was a kind old barber named Mr. Dube. He had rotten teeth, but he kept the smell down by gargling hair tonic.”

The threat and evidence of death is everywhere, but even then, the details matter. “We pull up to the site. We’re not alone. There’s a row of eigh
Excellent book about a sixteen-year-old girl who struggles to keep her dream alive of a scholarship and career while living in sub-Saharan Africa in a home that doesn't have electricity nor running water and with the pallor of AIDS overshadowing everything. Despite the hardship and depressing nature of the subject, the heroic character traits of the main character are inspiring. The author did a great job highlighting the dignity amidst a world of sustenance living and hardships we can barely im ...more
Nasir Scott
In this book we meet at young lady named Chanda. Chanda is about sixteen. And throughout the story she notices something strange about her mother. Even though he knows there's something wrong she doesn't want to say anything to her mother. But Chanda has to other people she cares deeply about. And they are her little sister and best friend Ester. Ester and Chanda are like sisters because Ester lost her parents from AID's. Ester has brothers and sisters but she can find them because they are spre ...more
Tears during the book, even more tears at the end, and then when your think you're about to dehydrate from crying so much, more tears. This book is emotionally powerful. It captured my attention from the beginning and didn't let go of it until the very last page. The novel deals with the pain of AIDS in a community where shame and ostracism are attached. Chanda struggles with caring for her family and trying to maintain her grades in school, all while worried about her best friend's new job as a ...more
Thils book was very interesting story of a young girl who was forced to grow up too soon. With her mother dying of AIDS and her best friend resortin to prostitution for survival, Chanda is forced to grow up and raise her younger siblings. The thought of even knowing someone with the AIDS virus is looked down upon by her community, resulting in ostrasization or death. I reccomend everyone to read this story.
Sarah Schwarze
I needed a quick read! This book fit that requirement, butit was also an enjoyable read. I don't know much about the HIV/AIDS virus, so it was shocking to read and learn about it. I had never realized just how serious it was or how quickly it can kill when it sets in. Chanda's story is touching. She is so young but fights so hard to keep her family together and to help Esther keep her family also. Chanda's bravery is inspiring, and I couldn't help but recognize her courage and gumption. She's so ...more
Wilson Stoddard
This book is about a girl, Chanda, who is forced to face the many trials of Africa. She sees the horror of death all around her. The cause of many of these deaths are AIDS. This book delves deep into the ugly truths of Africa that many people don't know about. Her family is extremely poor and they live in a very poor neighborhood. The closest phone is a ways away in one of their richer friends house. This book is extremely sad and very graphic. The author doesn't hold back any part of the detai ...more
J.D. Holman
Interesting and different. I've been on a kick lately of listening to audiobooks about teens in rougher parts of the world, and this certainly hits topics that are overlooked in the West.
Hannah Campbell
When I read this book in 7th grade I absolutely could not stand it. It was one of the assignments we were given. If I'm remembering correctly, it took like 3 or 4 weeks to complete the book and all of the writing and everything that went with it. Now that I'm in the 10th grade I now have a better understanding of AIDS. I think that is necessary to be able to comprehend and understand the situations in this book. It only took me two day to finish this book, and I definitely enjoyed reading it a l ...more
Andrea Grantham
I may have been in the wrong mindset/mood for this book, but It was definitely too heavy-feeling for me at the time that I read it. It it amazing what this girl went through, and I closed the book inspired. But, like I said it is not a lighthearted book. I did like however, that the book was very fast paced and overall optimistic. It is essentially about how a girl lived in poverty in a community somewhere in Africa.

This book contains drug/alcohol use, alludes to molestation, serious d
About AIDS in Africa, a very unique topic for YA lit. Extremely well written, but very depressing.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Out of all the books I’ve read for my South African Children’s Literature Class, this one was the best written in my opinion, although Out of Bounds by Beverly Naidoo was a good second. Unfortunately, it’s not written by a South African author. While he is an outsider from Canada, his works seems well researched, honest, and composed with skill. Perhaps by being an outsider, he is better able to examine important issues or perhaps it is just that he can present them in a way that will better spe ...more
Extremely harrowing and difficult to read - not because it was poorly written, it wasn't, but because of how squalid, unfair and miserable Chanda's life was. You really got a sense of how close to the truth this story is for a lot of women, the details and circumstances seemed too vivid and specific for them to be entirely made up, and it said at the back that it was inspired by the author's visits to various African countries. I found it kind of horrifying actually. I definitely wouldn't recomm ...more
Chanda’s Secrets
4Q 3P S

Chanda’s Secrets is a novel about a teenage girl in a fictitious African setting. She is not rich, but she loves her family and has dreams to pursue an education. However, people around her are getting sick, but no one really knows why, or at least does not want to admit that is might be AIDS. Because of the stigma surrounding the disease, it continues to spread. Chanda wants to save her family and friends, but finds it difficult when she has no support or way to get help
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
After reading CHANDA'S SECRETS by ALLAN STRATTON, I know a little bit about what it's like to walk in the mocassins of someone who suffers with AIDS. After meeting Chanda's family and friends and community, I know it's not a life without tears and fear. The YA novel takes place in Bonang, Africa. Chanda sees her life torn apart by disease. People are afraid of people who have gotten the disease. The people with AIDS are thrown away liter
Nov 25, 2008 Megan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers, adults
Recommended to Megan by: the librarian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cashay Sewell
Chanda's secret is a truly a must read!!!!...the story by Allan Stratton is fulled with hope and it really is a great book.The story is mainly about a sixteen year old girl who lives in africa and how she has to deal with her mother being sick with AIDS.In the story,chanda describes AIDS as a very horrible thing where she's from.Many people dont speak about it and even saying the word is forbidden.The story takes place in the poor area of africa.Even though the disease was common,many people tri ...more
There are many books that talk about HIV/Aids and how it effects many South Africans harshly. However, Chanda's Secrets show it through the life of a young girl named Chanda. Allan Stratton tells a heartbreaking and unforgettable story. Aids are things that I’ve known about, but not extensively. I’ve also never experienced anyone close to me having to deal with Aids/HIV. Although I have had little experience with aids, this book had made me feel for Chanda and thousands effected by aids today. ...more
A Book Vacation
To see my full review:

This novel takes place in Africa, in an Aids devastated area where mentioning the name of this illness is so taboo that everyone looks the other way—and no one seeks treatment for fear of the stigma that will follow. It is a heartbreaking tale, but also one of hope and redemption if you can push past the sadness that pulses throughout the pages. To be honest, I had a very hard time initially getting into the novel. It is a bit slow pa
Oh my goodness! This book was amazing! I was crying like a little baby by the end, wanting nothing more than to help poor Chandra as she braves the rest of the trials that surely await her. It was awesome to watch her grow through the book; in the beginning she runs from the mortuary to seek out her friend Esther, who she knows will provide a shoulder to cry on and will tell her that everything will be all right, but by the end, she is the strong one, the one who is there to hold everyone else u ...more
Angela Watson
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton is a book that takes place in Bonang, Africa and is about a sixteen year old girl who fights to rescue the people that she loves. This book takes place when it was the times of the HIV/ AIDs disease stigma. Throughout the book, Chanda has to go through and confront this stigma of HIV/AIDs as well as deal with the impact of loss, fear of death among family members,the death of those she cares for and just being able to survive. Chanda is just a great girl, who i ...more
Title: Chanda's Secrets
Arthor: Allan Stratton
Date of publication: 2004
Publisher: Annick Press
ISBN: 13: 9781550378344
Number of Pages: 196
Description/ Summary: Gr. High School. A girl's struggle amid the African AIDS pandemic, Chanda, is an astonishingly perceptive girl living in the small city of Bonang, a fictional city in Southern Africa. When her youngest sister dies, the first hint of HIV/AIDS emerges, Chanda must confront undercurrents of shame and stigma. Not afraid to explore the horrific
From School Library Journal[return]Grade 8 Up?Chanda, 16, remembers the good times, when she lived with both parents on a cattle post in sub-Saharan Africa and even later on when her family moved to Bonang. Her family's troubles began after her father was killed in the diamond mines. Her first stepfather abused her; the second died of a stroke; the third is a drunken philanderer. Although Chanda lives in a world in which illness and death have become commonplace, it is not one in which AIDS can ...more
Chanda's Secret
Allan Stratton
After reading Chanda's Secret I realized how much I had learned from this book. I took away some life changing tools and experiences to learn from. I truly enjoyed this book and it opened up my eyes to all the different situations people can be put in. This novel is about a young boy in Africa who is faced with many difficulties, forcing him to grow up before his time. He has to take care of this younger siblings and mother who has a terminal blood disease. Diving in
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ALLAN STRATTON is the internationally acclaimed author of CHANDA'S SECRETS, winner of the American Library Association's Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the Children's Africana Book Award, and ALA Booklist's Editor's Choice among others. His first YA novel was the ALA Best Book LESLIE'S JOURNAL. His latest, CHANDA'S WARS, a Junior Library Guild selection, won the Canadian Library Association's Young ...more
More about Allan Stratton...

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“Where there is love there is life; where there is life there is hope.” 8 likes
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