Forced to labor on an Ivory Coast cacao plantation, Amadou risks everything for freedom.
Fifteen-year-old Amadou left his family farm with his little brother, Seydou, searching for a season of work to help their family survive during a drought. Two long years later, the boys are still at the cacao camp where they have been taken and made to work “all day, week after week, season after season, never getting paid.” Amadou, Seydou, and the other boys at the camp must harvest a high quota of cacao pods each day or face severe beatings. When a girl—the camp’s first—arrives, her “wildcat” spirit stirs in Amadou a renewed sense of urgency to escape. The girl, Khadija, also causes trouble for Amadou and Seydou with the camp bosses, setting off a chain of horrific, life-changing events that start the children on an uncertain journey toward home. Following Golden Boy (2013), this is Sullivan’s second novel about real-life atrocities affecting children in Africa. With it, she delivers an unforgettable story of courage and compassion while illuminating the terrible truth about how the chocolate we consume is made. At the same time, Sullivan allows Amadou, Khadija, and Seydou to be the resilient heroes of their own story, just as their real-life counterparts around the world fight against the odds for change in their communities.
A tender, harrowing story of family, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom. (Fiction. 12 & up)