Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
* A Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2019 Selection * A Canadian Children’s Book Center Best Books for Kids & Teens Pick *
From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home.
Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again.
Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall.
But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game.
Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship.
Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?
About the author
Tina Athaide was born in Uganda and grew up in London and Canada. While her family left Entebbe just prior to the expulsion, she has memories of refugee family and friends staying with them in their London home. The stories and conversations she listened to through the years became the inspiration for her book Orange for the Sunsets. Tina now lives in California with her husband, Ron, and their daughter, Isabella.
“Set during one of the most turbulent times in Uganda’s history, Tina Athaide’s debut novel deftly navigates the transcending bonds of friendship against the upheaval, shifting alliances, and brutality of Idi Amin’s reign. Fascinating and beautiful, Orange for the Sunsets is hard to put down and hard to forget.”
Kashmira Sheth, author of <em>Boys Without Names</em>
“A heartbreaking and resonant tale.”
“Athaide, who was born in Uganda and lived there until her family left just before the expulsion, excellently captures how Amin’s plan affected individuals in complex and heart-wrenching ways. A moving story about the power and limits of friendship.”
“[T]his novel is timely, addressing the human complexity of literal borders and figurative walls and lives that are irrevocably and heartbreakingly changed in crises.”
<em>Kirkus Reviews </em><strong>(starred review)</strong>
"Though this is a historical tale, it is a timely one that examines the complexity of figurative and literal walls and discusses these issues with compassion and hope. Highly Recommended. "
Canadian Review of Materials
“Tina Athaide has tapped deep wells of friendship and family in this story set against the chaotic ferment of Uganda in 1972. Hostage to uncontrollable forces of dictatorship and political turmoil, Asha and Yesofu are heroes for our own century, eloquent voices in the face of racism and nativism.”
Uma Krishnaswami, author of <em>Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh</em> and other books for young readers<em></em>
“This compassionate novel conveys the multiple injustices and tragedies experienced by both African and Indian Ugandans during this period, and the power of friendship to sustain hope in tumultuous times.”
<em>Publishers Weekly</em> <strong>(starred review)</strong>
“Athaide’s debut competently tackles the tough topics of colonialism and refugee crises… questions that are still relevant in today’s world. A timely addition to middle grade shelves in need of non-Western historical fiction… a strong companion to Veera Hiranandani’s The Night Diary and A.L. Sonnichsen’s Red Butterfly.”
School Library Journal
“For those wondering how to discuss the dangers of manipulative and toxic nationalism with children, this delicately told story is it. Orange for the Sunsets is a nuanced and balanced way to see politics through a child’s eyes.”
Nadia Hashimi, MD, author of <em>The Sky at Our Feet and One Half from the East</em>