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The Heaven Shop

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  907 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
There is a lion in our village, and it is carrying away our children.
At her father's funeral, Binti's grandmother utters the words that no one in Malawi wants to hear. Binti's father and her mother before him, dies of AIDS. Binti, her sister, and brother are separated and sent to the home of relatives who can barely tolerate their presence. Ostracized by their extended fam
Paperback, 186 pages
Published October 17th 2007 by Fitzhenry & Whiteside (first published January 1st 2001)
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Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers both young and old
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: sfogs
The Heaven Shop is not a taxing read considering the fairly difficult subject matter which it encompasses but it is a worthwhile one. The story is set in Malawi, a country where the life expectancy is 54 years of age, where adult literacy is under 75% and where up to 650,000 children were orphaned by AIDS related illnesses (statistics from 2009 UNESCO data). Binti Phiri is a little girl who seems to be special; she has a loving family and lives with her father, a carpenter and her brother and si ...more
Jen Ozburn
This book definitely fills a unique niche in children's literature, something written with an international setting (Sub-Saharan Africa), about HIV, and on a lower reading level, in this case about grade 4.5. Also, the author donates all proceeds to UNICEF, which makes sense considering the subject matter.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. The subject is important, yet the writing was rather clunky and the plot too episodic. However, I will still recommend this book since I can't think of
Avery TheLibrariansDaughter
In the eighth grade I read this book and as part of my assignment was supposed to write a creative element (like a epilogue or haiku) I wrote a poem about Binti's life and my teacher sent it to a creative writing contest and I won two weeks at a arts camp.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
quotes#693957 from my notebook

Sometimes Binti would catch Kwasi drawing in the dirt with a stick. She knew his fingers were hungry for the feel of a pencil against paper.
She had an idea. She fetched her radio script. "Draw on the back of this," she said.
"Are you sure?"
"It's paper. I don't have a pencil, though."
"Don't worry. I'll find something." Kwasi's whole body started to glow with excitement. He got a charred bit of wood from the fire pit. Right away, he started to draw - birds, first, of
After both her parents die of AIDS, Binti, a former young radio personality, and her brothers and sisters are split up amongst resentful and even despicable relatives, and they struggle for day to day survival however they can. Young Western readers will be shocked at what that means for a huge majority of AIDS orphans in Africa. Binti maintains her spirit, and the reunited siblings reopen their father's coffin-making business, a business for which there is ever more need. A good eye-opener for ...more
Lisa Morris
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, easy read. Important topic, as always with D. Ellis. Binti is a character to cheer for, and her relationships with her family are believable and strong. The book would be a good launch pad for research and discussions, so may use as an all-class read. My only issue is that Ellis's books are always told through an omniscient narrator. I get that maybe a young child would be a less reliable narrative, but that personal spin would be a nice change and would bolster more and better dialogue, ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Outstanding story of a young girl in Malawi who goes from riches to rags. The emphasis is on how misunderstandings about AIDS and HIV affect the lives of ordinary people, tragically so. However, though it is a tragedy, the book ends on a happy note, as the characters make the best of their situation. This book would pair well with Allan Stratton's YA novel Chandra's Secret, which is set in a different African country. Highly recommended!!
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, and one that needs to be told. BUT, I struggle with the Deborah Ellis approach inasmuch as I struggle with the "white girl saving the world" approach. It is one thing to tell someone else's story because you believe it needs to be told and to create awareness in the world, but wouldn't it be so much better to empower people to tell their own stories in their own ways so that they don't become this "she did this and then that happened and then she did that" ...
Written in 20014 and set in Malawi, Ellis realistically fictionalizes a girl and her life as an orphan due to the AIDS epidemic. It is a story about resiliency, change, and familial love. This is an important book to read for people of all ages as it shows the challenges faced by many young people in this world. In addition, Ellis tells the story in an interesting and engaging way.
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to LeAnne by: Janet Wilson
Bintis father runs a brisk business selling coffins until real life catches up with him, and Binti becomes just another AIDS orphan. Ellis traces a typical scenario for one of Africas 12 million orphans. Proceeds go to UNICEF.
Tabitha Munyaka
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
we had to read this book in our class i loved it but i dont like the ending
Beth Johnson
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book
Andrea McDonald
So much of this book, set in Malawi, took me back to living in Tanzania and the never-ending challenges people seem to face. It is a soft step into some sensitive issues but will open deeper conversations. My students and I loved The Breadwinner and Parvana's Journey by the same author - I am always grateful to YA authors who open up different parts of the world to the reader. This will be perfect for our Development unit too.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deborah Ellis you amazing lady you. This is one of those rare books that manages to capture HIV/AIDS for what it is and the effect it has on communities, especially in poor areas. The stigma, the grief, the embarrassment mixed with sorrow. You can learn a lot from googling things and reading articles and four hundred page documents but this book was emotionally captivating, and that made it worth so much more. A small book, a big read. I would recommend for all. Educational and eye-opening, yet ...more
This book really deserves 3.5 stars but I can't quite give it 4 since I had some issues with the second half. The novel starts off very well. We're introduced to Binti, a young (12 years old?) girl living in Malawi. Her mother passed away but her father owns a coffin shop. Binti goes to a good private school and is part of a radio show. Her life seems safe/secure but then disaster strikes. Her father dies of AIDS and she has to deal with two things: 1) losing her father and 2) being shunned beca ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fitzhenry & Whiteside|October 17, 2007|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-55455-086-9
There is a lion in our village, and it is carrying away our children.
At her father's funeral, Binti's grandmother utters the words that no one in Malawi wants to hear. Binti's father and her mother before him, dies of AIDS. Binti, her sister, and brother are separated and sent to the home of relatives who can barely tolerate their presence. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated lik
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought that heaven shop was a pretty good book. It was boring at times, but had some really good parts. the right that the book was about was discrimintions . the book was about a family who lost their mother and father to aids.After their last serving partent died, the children were separated and had to deal with people around them treating them very badly, just because aids ran in their people didn't know much about aids back then.So they didn't know how to act and or treat people ...more
Heather Pearson
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
listening to the audiobook

Binti is a young star on a Malawi radio show that deals with all sorts of important topics. It turns out that the show is a good way of getting accurate information to their loyal viewers.One story line that receives rapt attention is that of AIDS. While Binti is exceptional in her role, she is blind to the fact that her dear father is living with advanced AIDS. She was too young to realize that her mother had passed away from the disease.

When her father dies, Binti an
Mrs. Tongate
A beautiful story and one with great characters. I highly recommend and love all Deborah Ellis' works. Great class read or read-aloud for secondary.

Teen Lit Review:
The Heaven Shop was a book I will never forget. The story of Binti is one that I am sure happens everyday to many, many children. The story was the perfect introduction for 6th to 9th grade children into the horror of what is happening with AIDS in some parts of the world. Ellis wrote a book that touches readers, draws them in, teache
Sue Smith
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very poignant story of a young girl named Binti who has the world by the tail only to have it snatched away from her by the tragedy of AIDS. An up and coming radio personality, going to school full time and helping their father with his coffin business, Binti has a full and busy life filled with happiness. With an older brother and sister, they help their father keep his shop clean and orderly for the many customers that come to look for a coffin to bury their dead. Too young to understand tha ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book i just finished reading is the heaven shop! It was about two young girls who were shipped off to live with there evil aunt and uncle. They were shipped off after there father had died from aids, and miss treated by there aunt and uncle! Binti was on a radio program in Malawi. But now she is nothing special. Both parents dead, separated from her brother and sister, ostracized by the rest of her family and treated like a servant. this book may be about a desease (aids & hiv) but it wa ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really interesting. Me im not a big reader, but I actually enjoyed this book. A thing I really liked about this book, was the characters, they seemed so real. I really like how there was something special about them all. My favorite one was Binti, I like her the most because she was close with her dad. Was on a radio show, and she's just fun and outgoing .

I enjoyed the plot because I found that everything happened at the right times. The author did a good job at spacing
Andrew Kim
This book is about a child in Malawi who encounters many difficulties from the surroundings of AIDs. Although she does not have AIDs herself, she is treated as a sinful creature and because her most of her family members and friends had died from this disease.
Deborah Ellis fulfills her purpose of telling a story of a the daily life of a child in Malawi, who is surrounded by people of AIDs. Ellis raises the awareness of AIDs through this story, not only to the people in Malawi, but also to the re
Mar 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annie Oosterwyk
This was another great read by Deborah Ellis. Binti lives with her older siblings and ill father(he has AIDS) in Malawi. She has a job as a voice actor in a radio program and is a prefect at her school. The father supports them with his coffin business until he dies of pneumonia/AIDS. Their relatives swoop down under the guise of taking care of the orphans and steal everything they own. They then take the children to their homes to use as free labor.
The focus of the story is how big a problem A
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great introduction to HIV/AIDS for young people. Of course, this book is nothing in comparison to 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen, but this is a great book for what it is. I'm glad to see that there are young adult authors out there who are dedicated to writing about important issues that are affecting people around the world (see Deborah Ellis' other work for more examples...). Now, if we could only find ways for children and teens to read this kind of stuff...
Ian Tymms
A powerful story about survival and humanity in AIDs stricken Malawi.

From the point of view of Binti, a young girl growing up in the sub-Saharan African nation of Malawi, "The Heaven Shop" shows that poverty is about much more than just going hungry. While we in the West have all kind of safety-nets to catch us if things go wrong, Binti and her family need only a small turn of fate for their lives to be turned upside down.

For all the tragedy, however, this is not a sad story. Ellis writes with
Jabiz Raisdana
What a beautiful and simple introduction to some difficult topics. The writing and language is simple, and the characters sometimes a bit one-sided, but Ellis does a nice job of shedding light on what it might be like for a poor family living in Malawi when hit the tragedy of HIV/AIDS.

While great for grade 8 readers, this book might be sensitive for some younger readers due to allusions to prostitution and child pregnancy.

We are currently doing a unit on Poverty and Development and I can't thi
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Deborah Ellis has achieved international acclaim with her courageous and dramatic books that give Western readers a glimpse into the plight of children in developing countries.

She has won the Governor General's Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California's Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award.

A long-t
More about Deborah Ellis