Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together

Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together

Fall 2006 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Herb Shoveller
Publisher: Kids Can Press
ISBN: 1-55337-967-5
Hardcover Price: $16.95
After learning in school about the shortage of safe drinking water in many African countries, a Canadian boy named Ryan Hreljac decides to earn the $70 he is told it will take to build a well. It turns out the cost is much greater than that, but Ryan is not discouraged. The story of what Ryan's Well Foundation creates is a powerful lesson in selflessness and community. Much of that story involves Akana Jimmy, a boy in war-torn Uganda who strikes up a correspondence with Ryan. Life in Uganda is fraught not only with the dangers of unsafe drinking water, but also the political strife that killed Jimmy's parents; in 2002, Jimmy himself was kidnapped by rebels and nearly died escaping. Author Herb Shoveller takes an unblinking look at the living conditions of much of contemporary Africa. Plentiful photographs illustrate the strength of the human spirit, and the obstacles Jimmy and his fellow villagers have to overcome. The true story about two boys and “the well in Africa that brought them together” has a happy ending. Jimmy has joined Ryan's family as a Convention Refugee, dreams of his future, and speaks internationally about the Ryan's Well Foundation.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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