by Kenneth Oppel
Humans have long justified using animals as test subjects. For medicines, experiments, just about anything. Set in 1973, Half Brother is the story of a baby chimpanzee raised by humans. The goal is to teach him to speak, but once the experiment is over, what happens next? When a chimp is raised as a part of a family, doesn't he earn the right to stay with them?
Set in 1973 right as animal rights were becoming a more pervasive theme, Half Brother is an interesting look at the moral questions raised by animal testing. The book doesn't take too much of a stance on the question beyond how it applies to Zan, though it does talk in general about some of the things that happen to animals in labs and about whether or not one life is better than another. Overall a good read for those interested in animal fiction because the overall story focuses on the relationship Zan has with his human family.
Age Level: 7th Grade