Golden Boy

A shocking human rights tragedy brought to light in a story of heartbreak and triumph. 


A Top-10 Book of 2013 according to:

Winner of the 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Award


A Junior Library Guild 2013 Spring Selection

An ABC Summer New Voices pick of 2013


CT: 2016 Teen Nutmeg Book Award Nominee

IL: 2016 Rebecca  Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award Master List 

NE: 2016 Golden Sower Award Finalist 

OK: 2016 Oklahoma Sequoyah Award Intermediate Master List

TX: 2014 TAYSHAS Reading List

VT: 2014-2015 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Nominee


Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt albinos in Mwanza because albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To keep his life, Habo must run, not knowing if he can ever stop.

Affectingly written, Golden Boy is a haunting and wrenching story of survival and hope.


“A commandingly written debut, Golden Boy is a moving, gorgeous account of what it means to feel profoundly different when the stakes are survival itself.”
—Eliot Schrefer, author of National Book Award Finalist, Endangered

Golden Boy is an amazing story of prejudice, bravery and acceptance. From the very first page, I was captivated by Habo and his struggle to find his place in the world.”
Kristin Levine, author of The Lions of Little Rock

“A riveting fictional snapshot of one Tanzanian boy who makes himself matter.”
—Kirkus, starred review

Readers will be haunted by Habo’s voice as he seeks a place of dignity and respect in society. An important and affecting story.”
—School Library Journal, starred review

“A moving novel that explores finding the worth of an individual as they see themselves, not as the world sees them.”
—VOYA, 4Q 2P J S

“Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax.”

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