Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis

Gorilla Dawn

Written by Gill Lewis

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

One of our Books of the Year 2015 Gill Lewis writes outstanding animal stories, and Gorilla Dawn is very good indeed. The setting is the forests of the Congo, home to the great lowland gorilla but also to rebel soldiers, who hide out there after attacks on local villages. Imara is just a child, but regarded as a talisman by the Black Mambas, one of the rebel groups. Their leader believes her to be a Spirit Child with magical powers to protect his men. It’s a frightening life and Imara has withdrawn into herself for protection. The arrival in camp of a baby gorilla taken to be sold into captivity breaks down her defences and she determines to save it. Imara’s story is terrible and Lewis chooses to reveal it in full only when Imara is safe. She allows us to feel hope for the gorillas too while explaining to her readers all the dangers they face. Above all, this story tells children that we all share the world, that if we lose our love of it, we lose our souls. A thrilling story which will sweep readers along, this is one of the best books of the year. ~ Andrea Reece

A note from Gill Lewis: “The world is at our fingertips…or so it seems. We use our mobile phones and computers to connect with people far across the globe. And yet, they also connect our fate to that of the gorilla. The electronic devices we use every day contain rare minerals, many of which are sourced within the forests of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, home of the eastern lowland gorilla. I wanted to tell a story, through the eyes of two children who have been swept into the conflict, that questions our responsibility as consumers of electronic goods; responsibility to insist on fair trade and conflict free minerals, and to actively protect our natural world.”

Reader Reviews

Jill Lewis writes about animals with passion and great empathy. Some of our readers have reviewed another of her books, Moon Bear - here's what they thought...

Katie Humphreys, age 10 This book was one of the best books I have ever read! Moon Bear is very moving and I love the way that this story is written all about bravery and survival.  Click here to read the full review.

James Wilson age 11 Moon Bear is entertaining like no other book and I love this book. It is absolutely awesome....a wonderfully descriptive book and has some brilliantly disgusting stuff in it.  Read this book and you will feel like you are part of the story.  Click here to read the full review.

Emma Baird, age 10  This is a story of friendship and betrayal. I love this book because you really feel how the characters feel, it even made me cry at times. But it has a happy ending too.   Click here to read the full review. 

Rebecca Hooper, year 9  I loved this truly moving book  Click here to read the full review.

Shannon Mitchell, year 8   full of heartbreak, joy and feeling  Click here to read the full review. 

Emma Turner age 11  Gill Lewis writes in an exciting style keeping the reader hanging on to every twist and turn of the adventure. Even in the last few pages my heart fell and rose again with the final events. Read this great book and join the fight to save the bears.  Click here to read the full review.


Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis

The thrilling, heartbreaking, and inspirational new story from award-winning storyteller Gill Lewis.

Deep in the heart of the African jungle, a baby gorilla is captured by a group of rebel soldiers. Imara and Bobo are two children also imprisoned in the rebels' camp. When they learn that the gorilla is destined to be sold into captivity, they swear to return it to the wild before it's too late. But the consequences of getting caught are too terrible to think about. Will the bond between the gorilla and the children give them the courage they need to escape?


'I think Gill is one of the best authors ever!' Eva, age 10

'Lewis writes beautifully about nature and animals.' Daily Mail

'Gill Lewis has established herself as the principal contemporary writer of animal stories, combining a vet's knowledge of her subject with a novelist's capacity for character and plot' Telegraph

Praise for Scarlet Ibis:

“Emotional but ultimately uplifting” Mail on Sunday

“This heart-breaking story about the power of sibling love and nature’s medicinal qualities elevates Gill Lewis […] to Hines and Durrell’s status” The Times

“Perhaps the most uplifting novel I have read this year.” Daily Telegraph

“A highly original narrative.” Daily Mail

Praise for Moon Bear:

“A moving and inspirational tale” 4 stars Daily Telegraph

“An utterly convincing story of ursine – and human – behaviour... this reader was very satisfied...” Guardian

“It is so gripping that I could hardly put it down... I wonder what Gill Lewis is going to write about next? I can't wait!” Guardian - Children’s books

Praise for White Dolphin:

“A lyrical, emotive, engrossing adventure” The Sunday Times

“Another moving and inspirational tale which is also a gripping action thriller...gracefully written and intense” Daily Telegraph

“An addictive page-turner” Bliss

“Like the author's debut, this wonderfully written and unforgettable novel will pull at the heart-strings” Love Reading 4 Kids

“Uplifting” Evening Standard

Praise for Sky Hawk:

“Opens your eyes, touches your heart, and is so engaging it almost turns the pages for you” Michael Morpurgo

“A moving wildlife story about survival and friendship” Julia Donaldson

“An edge-of-your-seat wildlife adventure that tells a very human story of friendship, discovery and an incredible journey. I loved it” Kate Humble, BBC TV presenter and RSPB president

“This beautifully written, captivating book should be on everyone’s bookcase and in every library…Breathtaking. Poignant. Unforgettable” Virginia McKenna, Founder of The Born Free Foundation

About the Author

Gill Lewis

Before she could walk, Gill Lewis was discovered force-feeding bread to a sick hedgehog under the rose bushes. Now her stories reflect her passion for wild animals in wild places. She draws inspiration from many of the people she has had the fortune to meet during her work as a vet, both at home and abroad.

Gill Lewis has a masters degree in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and won the 2009 course prize for most promising writer. Her first novel was snapped up for publication within hours of being offered to publishers.

She lives in Somerset with her young family and a motley crew of pets. She writes from a shed in the garden, in the company of spiders.

Gill’s first novel, Sky Hawk, has been nominated for a total of fifteen book awards including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Red House Children’s Book Award, and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, White Dolphin, was shortlisted for the Centurion Book Award (Bath) and the Kernow Youth Book Award.

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Book Info


336 pages


Gill Lewis
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Oxford University Press

Publication date

3rd September 2015




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