Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
A Million Shades of Gray has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by giggil
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Heavy wear, and an ex-library book with markings.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

A Million Shades of Gray Hardcover – January 5, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$1.44 $0.01

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$16.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—All Y'Tin, 13, ever wanted was to be an elephant trainer, and when he was 11, he became the youngest handler ever in his village. His life revolves around Lady and the other elephants in their small herd. But this is Vietnam in 1975 and the North Vietnamese are a threat to the Dega people of the Central Highlands now that the American forces are gone. The feared attack comes and half the village, including Y'Tin, is captured. He witnesses the murder of a fellow elephant keeper and, when he is ordered to help dig a mass grave, he knows escape is his only hope. When the chance comes, he and his friend Y'Juen slip into the jungle. They manage to find Lady and the other elephants, but the stress, fear, and anxiety about the war never leave Y'Tin. Even when he is reunited with his family, he cannot let go of the constant strain and despair for the future. When he is sent into the jungle to track down a lost Y'Juen, he spends a desperate night in fear. At this point, he decides the best thing is to try and make it to Thailand to find his future as an elephant trainer. 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.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Growing up in a remote Dega village in South Vietnam, Y’Tin is as close with his beloved elephant, Lady, as he is with his father, who works with the American Special Forces. After the Americans leave, Y’Tin, 13, flees the Vietcong massacre of his village and tries to find his family and friends while surviving in the jungle and caring for Lady. For a story so packed with action, this novel reads very slowly. Kadohata has done her research––including interviews with Dega refugees in North Carolina––but unlike her spare Newbery winner, Kira-Kira (2004), the detail here sometimes drowns the drama. But the boy’s viewpoint does open up political history that is seldom explored from this perspective in books for youth (Why did Y’Tin’s father join the Americans? Why did the Americans abandon the Vietnamese?), and 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. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416918833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416918837
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.Prather TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the powerful story of Y'Tin, a 13 year old boy living in the mountain regions of Vietnam and what happens to him following the American withdrawal. The story is told by Y'Tin, and the author has achieved a stunningly authentic voice for him. We see his fear, his courage, and his sometimes childish, sometimes wise thoughts about war, his family, and his beloved elephant. His devotion to his elephant runs throughout the story, and his faith in his future with her despite the horrific things happening around him is beautiful and sad in it's child-like naivete.

This is a sometimes graphic, brutal story that is best suited for middle school and above. The images of a mass grave and ruthless murder as seen through the eyes of a child are vividly portrayed. Y'Tin's struggle with the realization that the American's were not coming back to help his village was hard for me to read. This is a part of the Vietnam story that I had conveniently forgotten about, so I am very glad that the author is helping to keep it alive for the next generation. I hope teachers latch on to this book as I truly think it could be very effective while teaching about the Vietnam war period.

Other reviewers have commented on the child like writing style as being a draw back to the book's appeal to teens. I feel that any teen who picks this up will be drawn in by it. The style of writing is an integral part of Y'Tin's character and helps to serve as a counterpoint to the horrific events of the book. My congratulations to the author for once again producing such an important novel that will have lasting impact. A solid choice for teens age 12 and up, as well as any adult fan of historical fiction. The author's end notes add much to the story and will only serve to open up even more discussion.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This young adult (YA) novel is set in the Central Highlands of Vietnam during the last few years of the war. The lead character, Y’tin, is an adolescent whose life ambition is to be an elephant handler, a dream which he’s well on the way to achieving and which he’d be a shoo-in for if he didn’t live in war-torn times. His life is complicated by the fact that his father has worked for the American Special Forces (as a tracker), and the war is turning in the favor of the North.

When US forces withdraw and South Vietnamese forces are overrun, Y’tin escapes into the jungle with a couple of other boys and their elephants. Almost immediately a fault line freezes out Y’tin. The three boys had been close friends in the village, but under the stress of jungle life, the other two resent that Y’tin’s father worked for US Special Forces and that Y’tin, himself, had once gone on mission with the Americans. They believe that this is what has brought the war to their village. On the other hand, they recognize that Y’tin is more gifted in jungle craft than they, especially tracking, because of the education of his father.

Because of these skills, Y’tin is chosen to go back on a mission to reconnoiter their village, and he finds it’s been bombed out and nobody is to be seen. This leaves it unclear how many of the villagers escaped versus being executed by the North Vietnamese forces—but he does know many were killed. [Incidentally, the title comes from Y’tin’s view of the jungle after seeing the remnants of his village—i.e. instead of being a million shades of green, all he can see is gray.]

Besides telling the story of Y’tin’s adventures in surviving the war, the novel pivots on Y’tin’s role as a mahout—and ultimately as a protector of the elephants.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
For many Americans, no matter their age, the Vietnam War has receded into distant memory or even the realm of myth. Outside of the iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial and dwindling accounts in films and books, this 1960s and '70s-era war has been subsumed by more recent conflicts.

Even for Americans who remember the war, their knowledge of it probably ceases at the point when the U.S. troops withdrew from what seemed an increasingly hopeless and unpopular situation. But what happened to the South Vietnamese people who were left behind when the Americans withdrew to cut their own losses? Cynthia Kadohata explores this devastating question in A MILLION SHADES OF GRAY.

Thirteen-year-old Y'Tin has one passion: elephants. Y'Tin is an expert elephant trainer, the youngest handler in his village. He is not so enthusiastic about school, though --- he would rather spend his energies training his beloved elephant, Lady, with whom he has a close, intuitive relationship, without the violence and mistrust that characterizes some other handlers' treatment of their animals. Y'Tin's goal is to open his own school someday --- an elephant training school, that is, the first of its kind in Vietnam.

But history might have its own plans for Y'Tin. His Dega tribe has long had a relationship with the American troops fighting the North Vietnamese --- many men like Y'Tin's own father have assisted the American Special Forces in exchange for a promise that the Americans will always defend the Dega if the North Vietnamese break their treaty agreement and attack these mountain-dwelling South Vietnamese people.

In the wake of the American withdrawal, however, the U.S. troops seem to have forgotten about their promise to the Dega.
Read more ›
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

A Million Shades of Gray
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: A Million Shades of Gray