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Author: Walters, Eric
Illustrator: Fernandes Eugenie
Publisher: Tundra Books
Year Published: 2013
ISBN: 9781770493971
Grades: Grade 4

My Name is Blessing

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Eric Walters writes from a compassionate heart and with first hand experience from his visit to Kenya. Muthini lives with his grandmother and eight cousins in the rural mountainous Mbooni Region of Kenya. Muthini a young boy whose name means ‘suffering’ is loved by his grandmother even though he is ridiculed and teased by others. Muthini was born with a physical disability missing most of his fingers. Grandmother found it a great challenge to provide for all her hungry growing children, not to mention to send them all off to school. The picture book is an inspiration of love, acceptance and hope.
A difficult choice is made by grandmother to take Muthini to an orphanage. What happens is quite remarkable. The photography and authors message in the Afterward offers a glimpse of how young Muthini has been transformed once he is taken in by the kind hearted people at the orphanage. Eric Walters was there visiting in Autumn 2012. The story will warm hearts and has potential to spring young students toward taking action in some form to support those in Kenya who are impoverished, in need of water, program funds and school supplies.
Those schools involved with ‘Me to We’ projects or ‘Leader in Me’ initiatives would gain insight and inspiration reading My Name is Blessing.  The art work brings out the gamut of emotions of the characters providing a window into the lives of those who are cared for by the grandmas in Kenya. For background to this story and inspiration from author Eric Walters listen to his Ted Talk .

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