Abela by Berlie Doherty


Written by Berlie Doherty

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

An eye-opening book, Abela is the touching and profound story of two girls who apparently have nothing in common. The two girls tell their own stories. Abela, growing up in Tanzania, is surrounded by suffering. Her father has already died and now her mother and her baby sister are desperately ill. When they die too, Abela is sent off to England and an uncertain future as an illegal immigrant. Rosa, growing up in England, has everything she could possibly want. There is no reason why these two should become sisters. Their individual stories and the story of how they come together through adoption make a beautiful, satisfying and complete story. ~ Julia Eccleshare

Republished under the new title The Girl Who Saw Lions.

Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Award for ‘the book I couldn’t put down’.


Abela by Berlie Doherty

'Be strong, my Abela'. These are the last words of Abela's mother in their HIV/Aids stricken African village where it seems that to live or to die, to be sick or to be healthy, is just a matter of chance. It takes all Abela's strength to survive her Uncle Thomas' scheming to get to Europe, but what will be her fate as an illegal immigrant?


An involving, moving and, above all, relevant novel that ought to be in every school library in the land and put into the hands of as many children as possible Guardian

Excellent . . . what could be an unbearably sad tale is made compulsively readable by a writer of grace and skill -- Nicholas Tucker Independent

A very moving book and highly recommended Birmingham Post

The strength of the story is the author's empathy with all her characters, and her skill in engaging the reader with their feelings Books for Keeps

Well-written, with very real characters, this latest Doherty title is a heart-breaking yet ultimately hopeful examination of HIV/Aids, child trafficking and adoption The Bookseller

Touching and well-told story Publishing News

Beautifully written . . . Highly recommended for class reading School Librarian

An enticing narrative told in two parallel stories that converge in a satisfying ending School Library Journal

A fascinating read for young people with a social conscience Northern Echo

Doherty's story of a Tanzanian girl in search of a new family in Britain remains extremely topical -- Fiona Noble The Bookseller

About the Author

Berlie Doherty

Berlie Doherty is one of the UK’s favourite children’s authors. She has been writing for over twenty years and is published in more than twenty languages. She is a prolific writer of novels, storybooks, picture books, and plays. Berlie lives in Derbyshire

Photo © Hamish Hamilton

To read a question and answer session with Berlie Doherty please click here.

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Book Info


240 pages
Interest Age: From 12 to 17 years


Berlie Doherty
More books by Berlie Doherty

Author's Website



Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

5th June 2008




Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

Publisher's Website


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