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Tankborn (hc)

By Karen Sandler


Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.

When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.

After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.

BookTalk with author Karen Sandler

Discussion Questions

Teacher's Guide

Tankborn Glossary

Interview with Karen Sandler

Read the first four chapters of Tankborn online here!

What does the Tankborn world look like? Sketches of Planet Loka.

Win a signed copy of Tankborn

This Book is from Tu Books

Interest Level
Grades 7 and up
Reading Level
Grades 6 - 12
Asian/Asian American Interest, Biracial Interest, African/African American Interest, Breaking Gender Barriers, Conflict resolution, Discrimination, Friendship, Heroism, Overcoming Obstacles, Responsibility, Self Esteem/Identity, Slavery, YA interest, Nature/Science, Poverty, Scifi, Dystopia
About the Creators

Karen Sandler is the author of seventeen novels for adults, as well as several short stories and screenplays. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a software engineer, including work on the Space Shuttle program and communications satellites. Sandler first got the idea for the dystopian Tankborn series in the mid-1980s when she wrote it as a screenplay, and over the years while she was writing other books, the idea grew to include the planet Loka and Kayla’s life. Sandler lives in northern California with her husband, Gary, and their three cats, and can often be found riding her Andalusian/Morgan mare, Belle. For more information, visit karensandler.net.

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