Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 255

Picture Book: Hope Springs

Author: Eric Walters

Illustrator: Eugenie Fernandes

Summary: Boniface is a young orphan boy in Kenya who leads a group of younger orphans to gather water down at the small spring shared by the entire drought-ridden village, a spring that is simply drops of water, seeping from rocks into a muddy puddle. Because the orphans are new to the area, the children are forced to leave without water. The adults give this reason: “You may live here, but you are not from here. This is our water for our families.” When they return, Henry, Boniface’s houseparent, explains that they were not welcome to get water because the villagers are afraid their own families will not have water. The spring could dry up anytime. Meanwhile, through donations to the orphanage, a well is being built next to the orphanage. When the orphanage’s well is successfully dug, Boniface suggests that the well-digging equipment be used to build a well in the valley for the villagers. Henry agrees as long as the villagers provide the labor. The village well is successfully built and named Hope Springs. The book ends with these words: “And there was enough water – and enough kindness - for all.”  

Hanna’s Comments: My favorite line in this inspiring true story is Boniface’s response to his Henry’s surprise that the boy wants to help those who turned him away. “We are not desperate… so perhaps we can be kind. I know that when you give water, you give life.” If only more people could overcome fear and scarcity with such generosity! On my PBT blog, I use the non-fiction category more loosely than you would find in a library. If a picture book is based on a true story, I categorize it as non-fiction. is an example. It’s unlikely you’ll find it in the non-fiction section of your library. Look in the fiction section. In the back of the book, you’ll see The Story Behind the Story which includes a map and photographs of the characters and places in the story, including the built wells. You may want to learn more about the author’s philanthropic endeavors for orphans in Kenya at www.creationofhope.com.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Tundra Books, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present, but there is a 15 minute TEDx video on Youtube.com of the author talking about his experiences in Kenya.

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, Africa, anxiety/worry, babies/children, blessings, body of Christ, challenges, community, dependence/interdependence, discord, drink/thirst, drought, fear, forgiveness/mercy/redemption, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, goodness, grace, helping, hope, insecurity, intolerance, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, leadership/servant leadership, neighbors, orphans, outreach, partners/teamwork, problems/problem solving, sharing, survival, water, wisdom

Scripture Connections:  You shall treat the stranger as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34); and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6); blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6); when did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book with children or youth when talking about scarcity of water in many places in the world or overcoming selfishness and fear with generosity.

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