CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013
Eric Walters is a well-known Canadian award-winning author of children's young adult literature. He also founded and runs the organization The Creation of Hope. My Name Is Blessing is a true story based on the life of a young Kenyan boy born with a disability. Walter’s book gives the reader insight into the desperate living conditions for the orphans in the Mbooni district of Kenya. It also provides the context for the founding of The Creation of Hope (www.creationofhope.com or email@example.com), and the opportunities this organization offers to these children and their extended families.
Muthini and eight cousins live with their Nyanya, grandmother. With little food or money, life is hard, but Nyanya always gives the children her love. Muthini is often teased because of his missing fingers, and his grandmother realizes that she needs to make a difficult decision regarding this special little boy with his great heart and spirit. With hope for a future of opportunity for Muthini, Nyanya takes his hand, and together they set off on a long, tiring journey to an orphanage. There, Muthini receives the name Baraka, Blessing.
This beautiful picture book, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, tells the story of a young, disabled Kenyan boy in a hopeless situation. However, Eric Walters provides a narration of love which resonates throughout the story. Rather than focussing on his disability, Muthini’s grandmother recognizes her grandson’s strengths. Nyanya’s tough decision to bring her grandson to an orphanage leads to a bright future for Baraka. Born a boy named for suffering, his new name means ‘a blessing’.
A five-page section featuring Baraka and his grandmother Grace is found at the end of the book. It provides background information, along with photos, and explains the author’s involvement and the subsequent founding of The Creation of Hope.
My Name Is Blessing is more than an engaging and uplifting story. Through the narration, readers of all ages can easily connect to the real life story of an orphan and his plight in a rural district in Kenya. This book highlights global citizenship and the opportunity that an organization can provide for children, their extended families and communities in Kenya as an investment in the future.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.