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Extended Audio Sample A Million Shades of Gray Audiobook, by Cynthia Kadohata Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (476 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Cynthia Kadohata Narrator: Keith Nobbs Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9780743581974
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Tin is known throughout his Vietnam village as being brave, possessing the calm and courage needed to expertly train wild elephants. But when American troops—who Tin’s tribe, the Dega, have been helping—pull out of the Vietnam War and his village is occupied by Viet Cong forces seeking revenge, twelve-year-old Tin watches his life change in a million terrible ways. His bravery is put to a new test: He must choose between staying captive or saving his elephant’s life by fleeing into the dangerous depths of the jungle.

 

At once heartbreaking and full of hope, A Million Shades of Gray brings listeners close to a world few know about—and no one will ever forget. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata commingles shadow (Y’Tin helps dig a mass grave) and light (his gentle care of his little sister and the elephants) in this finely drawn portrait of a boy trying to find hope and direction in an upended world. This remarkable work of historic fiction powerfully evokes a specific time and place while exploring issues pertinent to any war.”

    Washington Post

  • “Newbery Medalist Kadohata shows that truth has as many shades of gray as an elephant in this emotionally taut survival story, set in war-torn South Vietnam…Kadohata delves deep into the soul of her protagonist while making a faraway place and the stark consequences of war seem very near. Y’Tin’s inner conflicts and changing perception of the world will haunt readers. Ages 10 and up.”

    Publishers Weekly, (starred review)

  • “Like a child in any war, Y’Tin has to cope with a situation that he doesn’t understand, one that has completely overturned his life. Kadohata depicts the questions, fears, confusion, and apprehension skillfully. Y’Tin is a thoughtful young man searching for clear answers where there are none.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Teen readers will be caught by the jungle adventure and the village conflict, as well as by Y’Tin’s personal battles with friends and enemies and his playful bond with Lady.”

    Booklist

  • “War has never been far from Y’Tin’s life…As he and Lady escape from the massacre that kills half the village, Y’Tin sees that between right and wrong are ‘a million shades of gray,’ like the elephant’s hide, like the jungle in the dim light. A fascinating window into post-Vietnam War history and a wonderfully intimate character study.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Nobbs has a calm delivery that holds the listener rapt as he describes the North Vietnamese invasion of Y’Tin’s village and the horrors of war and occupation experienced by civilians young and old. His depiction of Y’Tin’s journey to maturity celebrates the human ability to hope and survive in spite of unbelievable odds.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureen Milton | 2/18/2014

    " An interesting bit of as-yet unmined vein of middle reader historical fiction depicting the lives of the tribal hill people (the Rhade) in the highlands of central Vietnam. Y'Tin is the ?13-yera-old protagonist, the youngest elephant handler in his village when the story opens in 1973 and his family and people are helping the American forces there. The narrative jumps to 1975 after the fall of Saigon and the Americans are gone and Y'Tin (with his excellent tracking skills in the jungle and his beloved elephant, Lady) must do what he can to help his people survive the Vietcong's destruction of their villlage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Trinkella | 2/3/2014

    " It was good, but I doubt I'll read it again. It was really slow to start, but made up for it when Y'Tin was captured. The story was left on a cliff hanger. Personally, I would have given the book a couple hundred more pages and made it worth the work of writing a book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jean Haberman | 1/30/2014

    " I don't know who the audience should be for this book. It looks like an elementary book, but the subject matter is too difficult for elementary. This book is about the "Dega" people who lived in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. It took place after America left Vietnam and the Dega people were left to fend for themselves. Y'Tin, a 13-year-old boy, experiences the horrors of the Vietcong takeover. My favorite character was Y'Tin's elephant Lady. The redeeming value of this book is the explanation of the Vietnam War and how America didn't fulfill their promise to the Dega people. There were many interesting facts about elephants and how they are trained. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jo Sorrell | 1/28/2014

    " What happened in Vietnam aftger Americn troops pulled out in 1975. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/25/2014

    " characterization was not up to her standard "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 1/24/2014

    " The sum of the parts was less than I was hoping for. It's hard to articulate why, but I just couldn't connect to the characters. I did enjoy the elephants. The book provides a good look at the Vietnam war from a civilian perspective, and a good glimpse into another culture's daily life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marci | 1/16/2014

    " learned somethng about elephants and a little about living in the jungle in Vietnam during the war years; don't think I would recommend it to a kid in the library "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paco | 1/6/2014

    " I fell in love with this book. All aspects of it. I just want to read more about what happens with Y'Tin. I highly recomend this book for anybody. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joni | 12/25/2013

    " Excellent reading. Sad but uplifting at the same time "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelly | 11/20/2013

    " Book #60 for 2011 - Y'Tin is a 13 year old Vietnamese boy living in a village in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. He is the best elephant handler in the village, despite his young age. This book is a coming of age story about a boy, his elephant and faith in humanity. I really liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne Moran | 11/1/2013

    " The gentle story of a young elephant handler in the midst of a horrible time in history, when the Vietcong took over and destroyed his village. It's about courage and loyalty and sticking to what you believe is right. A really good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 10/13/2013

    " This book gave an insiders perspective that I haven't seen before. The story was realistic, but I felt the main character seemed a little flat. I had a hard time getting into the drama of the plot even though I was able to read it in two sittings. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucas T. | 9/6/2013

    " i finish it. it was sad at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meg J. | 6/25/2013

    " A very simple story with complex issues. Y'Tin is a boy who has to grow up very quickly as the North Vietnam Army murders his village and he escapes with Lady, his elephant. I ended the book with a lot of questions on my mind and a desire to read more about the Vietnam War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia | 6/2/2013

    " Compelling story. Unique setting in 1975 Vietnam after the Americans left. Interesting themes: like, in a war, who is the "good" guy?, the jungle's (or hard times) effect on friendship; letting go of what you love for it's welfare. However, it was a bit of a slow start and an abrupt ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 7/26/2012

    " The North Vietnamese capture a young elephant trainer's South Vietnamese village after the Americans have left. He must decide whether to try to escape and try to survive the jungle or remain a captive and endure the hardships presented by the captors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mrs. Fischer Fischer | 3/1/2012

    " This book taught me some new things about history and the Vietnam war. It left me wanting more though...an anticlimactic ending for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cat Fithian | 12/26/2011

    " You don't see many J fic books about the Vietnam War. This one is very sad, but has some sweet parts. The boy's relationship with his elephant is endearing. I listened to the whole thing, despite the hard parts, and it was worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie | 10/31/2011

    " Maybe 3.5 stars. It took me some time to get involved with the story. Interesting glimpse of the VietNam war from the perspective of a young Dega elephant trainer in the central highlands after the American's leave. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 7/13/2011

    " sad!!! but really good... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 6/9/2011

    " I don't know why but this book failed to grab me. It's about the hill people in Vietnam and gives me yet another reason to feel guilty about our foreign policy failures. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paco | 2/26/2011

    " I fell in love with this book. All aspects of it. I just want to read more about what happens with Y'Tin. I highly recomend this book for anybody. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Athena | 2/6/2011

    " i thought the books was short and a little boring but i still thought it was great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caren | 2/2/2011

    " Liked the beginning better than the end. The end seemed to drag out, yet it seemed like the author just wanted to hurry up to the end.
    Vietnam Era, about elephant trainers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/16/2011

    " Interesting topic, good story, but I felt like the author's writing kept me at arms length from the character's emotions. Very frustrating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Molly | 12/2/2010

    " This was written well, the author did a good job of having the reader relate to someone in a completely foreign culture. I wouldn't say it was an "enjoyable" read, more of an educational one. Seems like something a teacher would read with their class. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 11/16/2010

    " This story of a young elephant trainer, his family and village takes place during the Vietnam War after the Americans have left. A different take on that war and a coming of age story as well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan P | 11/5/2010

    " In 1975 after American troops pull out of Vietnam, a thirteen-year-old boy and his beloved elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village. This is one of those books that might inspire some kids to research more about this time period. Animal lovers might like it too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 11/4/2010

    " A good book. Bittersweet, but hopeful. "

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About the Author
Author Cynthia KadohataCynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her son and dog in West Covina, California.
About the Narrator

Keith Nobbs is a stage, television, and film actor who is best known for his portrayal of Joey Ice Cream in the television series The Black Donnellys. He has acted on Broadway with the Roundabout Theatre Company and appeared in such television shows as The Sopranos, Law & Order, and New York Undercover.