2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Text Nominee
Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medalist, 2011
2011 Skipping Stones Honor Award winner
On the 2011 USBBY Outstanding International Books honor list
Ann Conner Brimer Award for Children’s Literature finalist, 2011
2011 Snow Willow Award nominee
A 2012 "Woozles' Battle of the Books" Title
When civil war strikes Jacob Deng's Southern Sudanese village, seven-year-old Jacob embarks on a seemingly endless journey that tests his courage and determination. His wise mama tells him that he must one day go to school to seek answers and help carve a better future for his people. Wadeng is a Dinka word meaning "look to the future, it will be better; follow your dreams", and it, along with his precious "Mama stone", becomes Jacob's talisman of hope, helping him remain strong on his seven-year search for a place of refuge.
Jacob and his young friends are confronted with war, starvation, dehydration, raging rivers, crocodile and lion attacks, and the evil Majok - the constant thorn in Jacob's side - as they struggle to survive on their own. As the boys work and grow together as a family, surviving in harsh conditions, against the odds, Jacob's boyhood desire to become a soldier wanes. Gradually, he comes to the realization that fighting doesn't improve anything and begins to embrace his mother's belief in education as the road to peace and stability. Inspired by the real life experiences of a Lost Boy of Sudan, this novel is about an extraordinary journey of courage, perseverance, and hope.
Jacob Deng with some children in Sudan.
Jacob Deng now lives in Nova Scotia, is married and has a young family. His foundation, Wadeng Wings of Hope, seeks to build schools for young children in southern Sudan.
Click here to go to www.wadeng.org for Wadeng Wings of Hope. It is Canadian registered charitable society dedicated to raising funds for children's education in Southern Sudan. In the In the News section there is a link to a photo of Jacob with George Clooney in Juba.
Click here to download a pdf version of the Educator's Guide for A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk.
"Inspired by Jacob Deng's true story, Coates writes vividly and poetically, establishing a clear historical context for her inspirational tale."
-- Kirkus starred review
"Young readers will find admirable qualities in Jacob, as he perseveres through months of thirst, hunger, bloody wounds wrapped in leaves, walking many miles from grasslands through blistering sand, and escaping ravenous crocodiles while crossing rivers to reach safety. The author includes interviews and a glossary that further explain how the story came to be written. This book puts into perspective the peace and educational opportunities that readers enjoy."
-- Foreword Magazine
"This book is heartbreaking at times but has a strong hopeful ending that sometimes is not always the case in real life stories."
-- Kutztown University Book Review
"Coates gives an unflinching and poetic glimpse into the life of a boy who chose hope in the face of adversity."
-- School Library Journal
"Teens will be moved by the unsparing survival story and the climax, when Jacob learns to read."
"A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk is an incredible story. . . As a compelling story of the lives of war-affected children, it certainly has a place in middle-school.
-- CM Magazine
"An important and well-written story. Jan Coates takes the reader deep into the lives of children dealing with the uproar of war and terror - a strong reminder that the world needs to do better."
-- Deborah Ellis
"Jan Coates has succeeded wonderfully with A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk. She gives the reader an uncomfortably vivid sense of what it must be like to lose one's home and family, to wander aimlessly through a bleak and blasted landscape, in constant danger of starving or being shot. Such desperate circumstances could have led her young protagonist, Jacob, to become bitter, to resort to violence himself. And, working with such material, Coates could have written a very dark and despairing sort of book. But both the author and her characters rise above the situation and find in it an unexpected wealth of humour and humanity and hope."
-- Gary L. Blackwood, author of The Shakespeare Stealer, The Great Race, The Just-So Woman, and Second Sight
Jan L. Coates has woven Jacob’s story into novel form, so that young readers can learn more about this heroic young man, his ordeal, and his hope for his homeland. Jan is the author of Rainbows in the Dark (2005). She lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Visit Jan’s web site at www.jancoates.ca.
5.25 x 7.25, 286 pages, Trade Paper
Ages 12 +
Young Adult Fiction
With every online purchase of the book from this site, 40% of the proceeds are donated to Wadeng Wings of Hope