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The Heaven Shop

by Deborah Ellis

Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004
186 pages
ISBN: 1550419080

Ages 10-14

Thirteen-year-old Binti has a comfortable life, living with her father and two older siblings in Blantyre, the largest city in Malawi. She receives a great deal of attention as the child star of a local radio program called Gogoís Family. Her father has his own business called the Heaven Shop, where he makes and sells coffins. Business is good for him, due to the large number of people in Blantyre who are dying from AIDS-related complications. When he himself contracts AIDS and dies, Binti and her sister are sent to live with an aunt and uncle who treat them like servants. Binti eventually escapes and goes to live with her grandmother, who lives in a rural area and who has taken in many AIDS orphans. Through Bintiís eyes, Deborah Ellis shows the devastating effects AIDS has had in Africa in a forceful novel based on interviews and research she did in Malawi and Zambia.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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