|My name is Blessing|
Author: Walters, Eric
Based on the life of a real boy, the story of Muthini, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/01/13)
School Library Journal (11/01/13)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2013 Gr 3–5—The opening illustration of this moving story invites readers to journey with a young Kenyan boy named Muthini, which means Suffering. The youngest of nine cousins, all orphaned and raised by their elderly grandmother, Muthini was born with fingers missing on both hands. He is teased in the village but his grandmother, Grace, focuses on his strengths, stating, "It is so sad that other children only have ten fingers when you have a larger heart, a bigger brain, and greater spirit." Unable to feed her family, she chooses Muthini to live at a residential school where he is welcomed as Baraka, or Blessing. Lyrical language is matched by expressive acrylic illustrations that capture the emotional text. Some paintings reproduce photographs from the back matter; an author's note describes Walters's 2007 visit to Mbooni District, Kenya, where he learned that disease and famine left 500 children orphaned. In response, he established The Creation of Hope, a foundation that provides housing, schooling, and family support for children like Blessing. Libraries might pair this title with Katie Smith Milway's One Hen (Kids Can, 2008), which is also based on a true story and illustrated by the same artist. Both books address social justice and invite thoughtful response; One Hen informs readers about microloans while Blessing advocates for orphans. Young children may be disturbed by the fact that Muthini is sent away because he is "too young, and, with his disability, needs too much." Older children may be moved to take action.—Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.