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.
This book is absolutely, devastatingly honest. It actually surprised me.
I like the idea of people’s names being meaningful and it having an impact on their future. What was so heartbreaking was that Muthini’s name meant suffering. Growing up with two deformed hands would be difficult enough as a child, I don’t think he needed his name to rub in the pain he was already going through.
When you add Muthini’s living situation into the equation, you see a truly sad story about a young boy who has so much to offer but very little there for his options. Muthini’s family was struggling, his Grandmother was trying to feed and care for 8 children all on her own. When one day, the Grandmother realizes that she can’t do it anymore she must make a very difficult choice.
It is hard to not give away this whole story because I just want to talk about it all day. If there is someone else that has read this story please, PLEASE send me a message because I want to talk about it!!
This is a must read for every parent, every child and every teacher.