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Listening for Lions

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,240 ratings  ·  508 reviews
"If you are among evil people, you must be like the lion, gathering strength and awaiting your time."

Africa is the only home Rachel Sheridan has ever known. But when influenza strikes down her missionary parents, she is left vulnerable prey to her family's wicked neighbors. Surrounded by greed and lies, Rachel is entangled in a criminal scheme and sent to Engla
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 10th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published July 26th 2005)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,240 ratings  ·  508 reviews

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Jul 23, 2008 rated it liked it
I absolutely loved the first two thirds of this book. It received the National Book Award, and I can see why. I kept thinking "this is a book I wish I could write!" Whelan's prose is lovely and her imagery is precise and perfect. I love the way she uses imagery to tie landscape and characters together--wonderful. The book is taut with suspense, the heroine engaging and morally sensitive, and her dilemma is real for a child. She tries so hard to do what is right! I also agree with a comment by my ...more
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like good books.
Shelves: favorites
This has to be one of the best books I've ever read! It is filled with adventure, excitement, suspense, and surprises. I can't recommended this book enough! Just... go read it. Now. ;)
Oct 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Wendy by: Dawn
Appealing heroine, marvelous evocation of place, interesting plot--until the end. The final chapters are so rushed that the story feels disappointingly truncated, as if the author ran out of time or had some artificial length limitation (it's already a rather thin book!).
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here is a little treasure for you.  I have this on my bookcase because for a few years my children followed the Sonlight Curriculum programme.  I was sitting there looking at all the books I have yet to touch and thought it was about time I read some of the books I had handed to my children to read.

I went to bookcase and looked amongst the multitude of options and picked out Listening for Lions.  I am pleased I was drawn to this book.  I was taken from Africa to England and back agai
Rod Innis
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great story - wonderfully well written. Makes me want to visit rural Kenya again!
Brandi Rae Fong
Rachel loves her life in Africa, where her father runs a missionary hospital and her mother runs a local school. Unlike other British citizens in East Africa, particularly Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard and their daughter Valerie, her family lives simply with the Kikuyu and the Masai tribes, respecting their traditions, holding church services and training them to work in the hospital.

Her peaceful life is shattered when both her parents, as well as Valerie Pritchard, die from an outbreak of influenza,
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Because I am notorious for adding half stars...I might even even rank this a 4.5 stars. The writing for the first 2/3 of this book is beautiful. Beautiful. The pain, the detail, the imagery. Delicious. I loved the tension of the conflict and how it all plays out. The recommended age for this book is 10 years old or more and I think that is a good recommendation just in dealing with certain issues may cause anxiety in younger readers. But if you have a more mature reader then this may be fine. It ...more
3.5 stars... Books like this make me yearn to travel to Africa. It is so different than the life I lead...harder yet simpler. I hope that I would feel as Rachel does and not as Valerie does.

Rachel's father and mother die. The greedy and selfish Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard take her in...and then concoct a plan where she will pretend to be their daughter who has just died and she will go to live with "her" grandfather to try to convince him to give Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard a greater inheritan
Abigayle Claire
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a book club I'm participating in, and I was impressed, considering it was a middle-grade book. The language was concise and narrated, but very poignant and thought-provoking. The theme of a young, innocent girl being thrust into some very difficult, adult situations did not mean the story was always predictable. Rachel's love for Africa and her dormant passion to do the right thing was admirable even when it led her into some sticky situations. The tale was touching and even ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: young-adult
I picked this up at the library - it's a nominee for the national book award. I loved the setting and the stories of Africa -- I loved how the author showed women can be strong, even at a young age. Really it was about loss and tragedy. It has really good lessons about service and greed, but I don't think it was preachy about them. I like all the references to Dickens -- because it was kind of Dickens in its own way.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It made for a great discussion in our homeschool bookclub because there were some real muddy moral dilemmas that made for great conversation. I think my kids lost a bit of interest in the last few chapters as the protagonist grew into an adult. But for me, it was an engaging story.
One of my most favourite books ever. This story reminds me about fulfilling dreams and how special home is. There is sadness but also joy in this book, and every time I read it it fuels my desire to hear the lions myself one day. :) To me it’s a treasure among books.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Probably more like 4.5 stars. This book was actually really, really good. I loved it. (I stayed up extremely late just so I could finish it)

Definitely a good book to add to your to-read list
Ruthe Turner
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This juvenile novel is narrated in first person by Rachel, who lives in Kenya with her medical missionary parents and helps out at the hospital. She loves her life in Kenya, and many references are made as to the land, the people, and the many animals, including the lion. An aggressive influenza outbreak takes the lives of Rachel’s parents. Being too young to be on her own, Rachel is forced into going along with a deceitful plan by a greedy couple, which involves her moving to England. Again, th ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A novel, probably ideal for girls 12-14, yet it was another of those books that I like to read so I can recommend it to a grandchild. The book takes place in Africa and in England during 1919-1923 or so. Told through the eyes of a 10-12 year old girl. Good descriptions of the countryside and the people. This would be a good book for a parent to read aloud to or with a daughter or a son. As the reading takes place various things could be discussed, such as, flu epidemic of 1919, Africa, British c ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
I listened to an audio version of this book and really enjoyed it!
Laura Krooswyk
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
Tamara York
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic story with great characters and a page turning plot. The ending felt rushed. I don’t often say this about a book, but it would have been better if it had been a hundred pages longer.
Avery Sanderson
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It was a really good book.It made me want to keep reading whenever I had free time. It was very detailed and one of my favorite books.
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom, jacob, ellie
Ellie is listening to the audio. She almost turned it off at first but she is glad she didn't..krb 10/30/17

Ellie recommends we listen to this as a family since we are studying birds this term and the story talks about different types of birds. She said it would go along with what we are studying. Looking forward to listening to this...krb 11/3/17

Listening to audio in the car...krb 12/3/17 Loved this book! The descriptions of Africa, the way you feel as though your in the
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
A moving little book, tenderly and achingly written.

Rachel is the daughter of a workaholic physician in Kenya.  The flu kills her parents and Valerie, a girl her age.  Valerie’s parents pretend to help Rachel, but actually intend her to pose as their daughter for selfish reasons to be learned later on in the book.

As an adult reader, your heart goes out to Rachel because you see how she blames herself for so many things that should be blamed on selfish grown-ups surroundin
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I came across this book while shelving yesterday and remembered having read it a while back. But once again I was attracted to the picture on the cover. So I spent some enjoyable time rereading the story that is really a 3+. What I admire most about this book is the author's knowledge on many subjects and her intertextual references to many works of literature including Dickens and Jane Eyre. It's not hard to guess where Whelan got the idea for her tale of orphans whose plight is aided and hinde ...more
Jennifer Hughes
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, mom-me-book-club
My daughter and I read this for a summer book club that the two of us just started. It was a great inaugural book that coincidentally tied beautifully into a favorite I recently reread, Out of Africa. It was a nice change from many contemporary YA books that have thin plots, gratuitous sex, and bad language.

A other reviewers noted, I loved how this gave a nod to childhood classics like A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. N and I decided that a few characters were a little two-dimensional, and the way everything
Andrea Day
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, even though it has a few weaknesses. It is very similar to other stories that take place in England in the early 1900s, like The Secret Garden, A Little I enjoyed that aspect. The first two parts were great, the third part really needed more space to expand and tell the story and develop characters. I was interested in Rachel's journey through medical school and coming home to build the hospital. I felt that the book needed to be twice as long to provide ...more
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sort-of a mix between The Little Princess and The Secret Garden set in Kenya. I think my connection to Africa helped me like this book so much. I especially love the title!

I reread this book in 2018 while living in Kenya. It starts a bit slowly, but I was soon sucked into the story. It really is a lot like a Kenyan version of The Little Princess or The Secret Garden because it’s about a girl who becomes an orphan and has her whole life change. I love all the talk of the outdoor
Kaylin Hoover
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Autumn Bloss
I thought this novel was very descriptive and detailed. It was about a girl named Rachael who lost her mother and father at the age of 10. She had to live with 2 people she hated because she did not want to go to an orphanage since her parents both were in an orphanage when they were little. So she lived with the people she disliked. The daughter of the people she disliked and her parents all died from influenza. I think the main character of the story is Rachael because she is the one telling u ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was a quick read.

I quite liked it. My favorite part was when she met the grandfather for the first time. Once the conflict regarding Valarie was resolved the rest of the book passed fairly quickly which is when they lost me. I was happy for Rachael for all her accomplishments and the fact that she went back to her beloved Africa but she seemed a bit lonely to me.

I liked Gloria Whelan's book Homeless Bird much more. However, Listening for Lions is not a bad story
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book may be for kids, but it is a very good book. I really recomend for anyone. It is about a young girl, Rachel, whoes parents are missionaries to Kenya. Her parents die from spread of influenza. Her neighbors have a little girl, Valerie, also die from the disease. Valerie was suppose to go back to England to visit her grandfather. So Valeries parents send Rachel as Valerie to England. As a christian, Rachel lives in lies for 6 months. Finally the truth comes out, and Rachel no longer feel ...more
Mikki Elodie the Ravenclaw Faery
This book has always inspired me, and when I first discovered it, I think I read it four times in a row. The protagonist Rachel was and still is my hero. She went through the death of her parents only to be left in the hands of manipulative people. Through several series of events, she eventually went to medical school to become a doctor with all the odds against her because she was a woman. Still she became doctor and did what she believed was right.
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods ...more
“They were all brilliant. They wrote books and painted pictures, and if they ever stopped talking, which I was sure they would never do, they planned to change the world.” 963 likes
“I looked forward to making friends at school, but I had come late and friendships had already been formed. I couldn’t find my way into their world. They seemed to have a secret code I couldn’t decipher.” 10 likes
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