Saving H’Non: Chang and the Elephant

Trang Nguyen and Jeet Zdung; iIllustrated by Jeet Zdung
(Dial Books)
  • Fiction
  • Set in Vietnam

Key words: Conservation, wildlife, activism, friendship  

While volunteering at a wildlife rescue center near Yok Don National Park in Vietnam, Chang helps rescue an injured and abused Asian elephant named H’Non. For decades, H’Non was forced to haul heavy timber logs and concrete poles at construction sites, and then to carry riders at tourist attractions all day long with no break. While nursing H’Non back to health, Chang is tasked with finding a kind mahout—an elephant trainer—who will teach H’Non how to fend for herself in the wild. Though Chang initially has her doubts about the young mahout she finds, a boy named Wat, H’Non takes to him instantly. And as her friendships with both H’Non and Wat grow, Chang learns what it means to give people a chance, to show up for your friends, and to love openly and forgive compassionately.