Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard --love doesn't feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka's physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.
About the Author
A former social worker and elementary school teacher, Eric Walters wrote his first novel, "Stand Your Ground," in 1993, as a way to get his grade five class of reluctant readers more interested in literature and writing. He did that by creating a novel about them - and it worked! Since then he has written more than 70 books for young adults that together have won more than 100 awards. In conjunction with his writing, Eric talks to hundreds of young people in schools and libraries across the country each year. Eric Walters also founded and runs The Creation of Hope, an organization dedicated to providing care for orphans in the rural Mbooni district in Kenya. Eric has three grown children. He lives with his wife in Mississauga, Ontario.
Award-winning illustrator Eugenie Fernandes has written and illustrated more than 20 of her own books, and has created the art for more 60 other picture books. Her father was a well-known comic-book illustrator, and as a child, Eugenie spent many hours drawing at a desk right next to his. The whole Fernandes family has a flair for the creative: Eugenie's husband and their two children are also artists. Eugenie lives with her husband beside a lake near Peterborough, Ontario.
“This expressive picture book, based on a real family, lovingly tells a hard story with a twist. It’s difficult to broach poverty, disability and custody issues in so few pages without sounding maudlin, but Walters manages by speaking simply. . . . With dignity and quiet acceptance, this story illustrates that blessings, like family, can take unexpected forms.”
—Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews