When This is Over
I Will Learn How to Read
“When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read;”
A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan
Children’s, parent’s and teacher’s literature targeting such areas as issues of family, intervention, resources for counselors and educators, and growth and discovery.
My highly relevant, professionally edited, widely publicized and now multiple awards winning manuscript is now also available in paperback. It has also been professionally prepared in both digital and audio format. No one knows the real story of Kenya better than the children who live it. I had the opportunity to live and work in this country and become immersed in the culture. The result is a1500-word nonfiction picture book titled, “When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read”: A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan. This true story of one little boy is told in his own words. While there are many books about Africa, none are told from a child’s point of view like this one. The Maseno Sunrise Nursery School is nestled in the small village of Maseno in Kenya, Africa. Maseno is located squarely on the equator at an elevation of almost 5,000 feet. The sun shines brightly, the rains are powerful, and a gentle breeze blows steadily across green hillsides and through the red mud farmlands. The native children from this village school created the images in this book. I asked the students to draw me pictures of their ideas of family, love, happiness, sadness, fear, etc. The result is a revealing window into a hard life lived in a vastly separate reality. Several children had burn scars while even more were sick with malaria, tuberculosis, or HIV/AIDS. This is normal. This is childhood in Kenya. I wanted to capture the physical harshness of the children’s lives in photographs but didn’t want to embarrass them. So, many times I would pretend to be getting a close-up shot of a drawing they were working on and secretly snap scarred arms, rheumy eyes, and scaly scalps as well. And always I reminded myself, “These are the lucky ones. They get to go to school and learn to read. They can be something wonderful.”
The children from the village school created the book’s illustrations. I asked these students to draw what, for them, represented family, love, happiness, sadness, fear and hope. Photographs of the children, their school, the countryside, the hospital, the mobile clinic and orphan program also accompany the text. The result is a picture book that depicts a fascinating reality separate from what most American children know. This truth is certain to nudge the hearts, minds and imaginations of parents, teachers and children. I have promised the children of the village the proceeds from the publication of this book. They trust me. And they wait.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Pamela Sisman Bitterman
I am the published author of a true adventure/memoir nonfiction book titled Sailing to the Far Horizon: The Restless Journey and Tragic Sinking of a Tall Ship published in 2004 by Terrace Books, a trade imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press, and Muzungu; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check. World Vision has published a homily I wrote entitled Child. I have extensive professional experience dealing with children through my work as a Therapeutic Counselor in Residential Treatment Centers, teaching both preschool and kindergarten, and working as a certified instructor in the Junior Great Books Program. “When This Is Over, I will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read” has been awarded the 2011 First Place Gold Award from CBC – Character Building Counts – for excellence in delivering a character building message. It has also been awarded First Place in the 2011 Sharp Writ Book Awards category for Children’s Books. And it has been nominated and is presently being considered for the 2012 American Writers Award in the category of children’s books.
Author’s Website: www.pamelasismanbitterman.com
“A touching and dramatic story that will captivate children and adults. What I like best about When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read is the immediacy and the connection children will readily make with the child telling this story. Told in a matter-of-fact way, the story draws the reader into the life of a a young Kenyan boy, submerging the reader in his personal experiences, his family and language. This book is an opportunity for educators to introduce the daily life and living conditions of poor children in Africa, sparking interest and compassion that can lead to action in the children who are tomorrow’s leaders.” ~Lisa Barker, for Children’s Book Review; Biblio Reads
“This emotive children’s book not only takes the reader on a journey to the small village of Maseno in Kenya, Africa, but also into the heart and mind of one little boy, Julius. Author Pamela Sisman Bitterman spent two months working in Kenya, and states that during that time she got to know Julius very well. Pamela affirms that ‘his story is the voice of the thousands of needy youngsters just like him all throughout Africa.’ This story is a reality check for all of us. Six year old Julius narrates the story. He takes the reader on a factual and emotional journey into his life, his family, the people who care about him and the villagers, his language, and his thoughts and dreams. The book’s title is nicely interwoven throughout the book – a little like a chant, but one that has the whisper of sadness yet hope. When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan is a well written story. The language is straight forward but interwoven with beautiful descriptive passages. I could see and feel the last wavy gold of the sun being swallowed up by the black shadows of night. I could also feel the ‘jiggers’ in my skin. ‘Jiggers are bugs that crawl under the skin and lay eggs.’ This 1500 word non-fiction children’s picture book also offers the reader a little more insight into the world of the children by the inclusion of illustrations drawn by the Maseno North Sunrise Nursery School Children of Kenya, as well as original colour images. These colour images not only capture the physical harshness of the children’s lives, and their physical afflictions, but also the hope expressed in their smiles and laughter. Despite the harshness of their world, they can still smile and have hope. When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; The Story Of Hope And Friendship For One young Kenyan Orphan is certain to pull at your heartstrings and make you stop and think. And you can help make a difference. All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the children of the tiny village school where the illustrations were created.” ~Helen Ross.
“When This is Over, I will Go To School, And I will Learn How To Read, is an inspiring true story about children in Africa who want to be happy and healthy. This story is about a six year-old boy named Julius. He has never been to school. He lives with his grandmother, sister and brother in Kenya. They live in a mud hut in the forest. Professor Nancy sees the children and tells them that they have jiggers, which are bugs that live under the skin and lay eggs. She tells them that they need to come to her mobile clinic and orphan feeding program. When they get there the doctor realizes that their condition is far worse then they first thought, so the family is taken to the hospital where they can be treated properly. After their treatment the family is given many things to help them be healthy, like mats to sleep on, clothes and shoes to wear, as well as mosquito nets to keep the bugs away. But will Julius ever accomplish his dream of going to school and learning how to read? It is a mantra he says when he is afraid. A goal he hopes to someday accomplish. This is a true story of life for children in Kenya. It is a terrifying truth that most people don’t know about. What is amazing is the strength and hope in the Kenyan children and their determination to want to become something more. The illustrations are done by the children and there are real pictures of the children in the story as well. This book will hopefully help bring more awareness to the conditions the children in Kenya must endure but it will also show how the kindness of people prevail. This is a 75 page book that children and parents of all ages will enjoy.” ~Renee Hand
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