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Virunga (2009)

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In the oldest national park in Africa, amid the political unrest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a group of rangers struggles to protect the park and one of its greatest resources: half the world’s population of mountain gorillas. The region, also rich in mineral resources, is both the setting and subject of this story. It is here that the rangers, along with soldiers, rebels, miners, and coal traders fight for their livelihoods and their beliefs.

Malika is an 11-year-old girl living in a refugee camp on the edge of Virunga. She sees the dangers of the world as an artist. Along her journey, she encounters a variety of characters, including Esther, one of the park’s first female rangers; Aymar, a poacher-turned-ranger; and Njembe, a boy who is pulled into the dangerous ranks of Sakombi’s infamous rebels.

Forces out of the rangers’ control and a fight over the land lead to a climactic scene on the banks of the river. What are the limits of the rangers’ obligation to protect? They must make a decision that will affect themselves and the future of Virunga.

This book explores the dizzying complexities of the region and finds hope through the inspired imagination of Malika.


  • Corey Nash Ahnangnatoguk
  • Cristopher Bautista
  • Emily Bookstein
  • Adam Cole
  • Eric Giddings
  • Catherine Harrell
  • Helen Higuera
  • Joy Henry
  • Kristine Lee
  • Albert Lai
  • Sylvia Nguyen
  • Rebecca Orr
  • Shelly Ronen
  • Elizabeth Sanders
  • Sara Sisun
  • Jamie Solomon
  • Rhean Westerlund
  • Jin Yu


Dan Archer, Adam Johnson, Tom Kealey