Ten-year-old Hastin's sister has fallen ill, and his family must borrow money to pay for her care in the hospital. To work off the debt, Hastin leaves his village in northern India to work in a faraway jungle as an elephant keeper. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and punished until she learns her tricks. With the help of Ne Min, a wise old man who seems to know all about elephants, Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can. Still he wonders--will they survive long enough to escape?
“I've always loved reading,” Kelly says, “and as a mom and a teacher I fell in love with children's literature all over again. But it wasn't until I got the idea for CHAINED that I was inspired to write. It wasn't easy to turn the idea into a novel, but once I started writing I found that I really enjoyed it, and this was a story I wanted to tell. I kept working on the book while learning all I could about writing, and I'm so happy with how it turned out.”
CHAINED debuts May 8th from Macmillan/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. The author will discuss and sign the book on May 12th at Houston's Blue Willow Bookshop starting at 2:00 PM. More events and information are available at www.lynnekellybooks.com.
When not writing, Lynne works as a sign language interpreter in the Houston area.