Author: Eric Walters
Publisher: Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2014
Genre: Middle grade/early YA fiction based on real life
Audience Age: 9 to 14
Themes/Topics: Determination, hope, unrest in Kenya, dealing with tragedy
Opening Sentences: My father led the way through the dark, my mother behind him, my sister in her arms, and I was just behind them. I kept looking over my shoulder, terrified that I’d see what I could hear in the distance, that they were closing in on us.
Synopsis: After their village is destroyed, 13-year-old Muchoki, his little sister Jata, and their mother have to make some sort of life for themselves in a crowded refugee camp. But then Muchoki and Jata lose their mother to malaria, and the authorities decide that it is best to send the children to orphanages. Separate orphanages. Muchoki and Jata do not want to lose the only family that remains to them – each other – so they escape from the camp early one morning, and begin a long walk following the invisible string of their family’s legend to find their mother’s people.
Walters tells the story so vividly that it’s very hard to put the book down for any reason, except perhaps to go to the companion website.
For Further Enrichment: The entire book is a guide for enrichment. Throughout the book there are icons along the margins leading to extra material on the book’s digital companion website, www.ericwalterswalkinghome.com. There are audio and video clips, photographs, maps, author notes and short articles that make the book come alive.
Also see the author’s website.
Availability: Readily available. Try your local independent bookstore! (Note: that is a link to a Canadian independent bookstore, Ella Minnow in Toronto.)
I have added this book to my 2015 Diversity Challenge reading list. Check out the Unconventional Librarian’s Diversity Reading Challenge — it’s not too late to start reading!