As an intern with UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean, Bush, the daughter of the president, was assigned to document the lives of poor children; in a preface, she writes about how impressed she was to hear a 17-year-old single mother resolutely announce, in a group for people with HIV/AIDS, "We are not dying with AIDS; we are livingwith it." For more than six moths, Bush met with the mother, Ana, and later interviewed others, inspired by Ana's resilience. Here, in what she terms narrative nonfiction, she creates "a mosaic of [Ana's] life, using words instead of shards of broken tile to create an image of her past and a framework for her future." Short segments reveal Ana's scarred childhood. Ana is orphaned, told never to reveal her HIV status lest she be ostracized, sexually abused by her grandmother's boyfriend, beaten and sent to reform school. Not until she lands in a group home for people with HIV/AIDS do things begin to look up, and then only temporarily: Ana falls in love with a boy resident, gets pregnant the one and only time they don't use a condom, and the boy grows too sick to be of much help (the thought of terminating the pregnancy never comes up). Despite unexceptional, sometimes awkward writing ("The passion, the attraction, the butterflies had flown away"), Bush's compassion for her subject comes through clearly. Even (and maybe especially) when Ana behaves imperfectly or questionably, Bush focuses on Ana's pain and ability to transcend it, helping readers to avoid judging Ana and to feel strong empathy. Back matter includes information on HIV/AIDS and abuse, notes on ways to help others and a discussion guide; the final art, which includes color photos,was not seen by PW. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hopeby Jenna Bush, Mia Baxter
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope is a work of narrative nonfiction based on Jenna Bush's experiences while interning for UNICEF and documenting lives of children and teens she encountered through her work. The book focuses on Ana, a teenage single mother who is bravely living with, rather than dying from, HIV. Ana's determination has allowed her to overcome abuse and abandonment and fight for an education and a better future for her child. Inspired by the framework of one girl's life, it is also the story of many children around the world who are marginalized and excluded from basic care, support, and education. Jenna Bush sends a message of hope, inclusion and survival, and calls for youth involvement in helping other young people triumph over adversity.
The book includes approximately 45 full-color photographs taken by Mia Baxter, Jenna's friend and fellow UNICEF intern.
About the Author
JENNA BUSH is the daughter of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 with a degree in English. Jenna taught elementary school in Washington, D.C., for a year and half before embarking on an internship for UNICEF's Educational Policy department at its regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in the fall of 2006. During her internship, Jenna recorded the life stories of children and adolescents she met through her travels. She taught at a shelter in Latin America several days a week while writing this book.
About the Photographer
MIA BAXTER graduated from the University of Texas in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Spanish. An internship with the Corporate Art department at Condé Nast led to a job as photo assistant at Glamour magazine in New York. She worked as a freelance editorial and documentary photographer in New York before moving to Latin America in September 2005 for an internship with UNICEF. Mia believes in photography as a significant and compelling tool in visual communication. She has been photographing the lives of children and adolescents in Latin America with UNICEF for the last several months.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
Ana's StoryA Journey of Hope
By Jenna Bush
HarperCollinsCopyright © 2007 Jenna Bush
All right reserved.
Ana had one picture of her mother. It was not an original photograph but a color photocopy.
The image had been laminated, sealed in plastic for protection, so that it would last forever. When she was ten, Ana decorated the corners with sparkly stickers of flowers and stars. She handled the photocopy so often that the corners had started to curl and the plastic had begun to fray and come apart.
All of her life, Ana's aunts and uncles told her that she looked just like her mamá. Ana sometimes stood in front of the mirror, holding the photocopy next to her face. She wanted to see if her eyes really were the same as her mother's. Ana shifted her focus from her eyes to her mother's eyes until the images blurred and she could not tell where her mother ended and she began.
In the photocopy, Ana's mother was young; she was only sixteen when Ana was born. She had big brown eyes and feathers of dyed blond hair. Her skin, the color of cocoa, looked fresh, smooth, and polished. Ana hoped her family was right; she hoped she looked like her beautiful mamá.
Ana's mother had been gone for so long that Ana could only recall the curves of her face by looking at the ragged photocopy. Ana taped the picture to the wall of her bedroom at pillow height so that she could stare at it before she went to sleep, comforted in knowing that if she ever forgot what her mother looked like, she could glance over and remember.
Ana had only one actual memory of her mother. It was not vivid but vague and somewhat confusing. She remembered this piece of her past like a black-and-white movie, the images blurred and out of focus, beyond reach.
In the memory-Ana's first-she was three years old. She stood in the hallway outside a bathroom; her mother was on the other side of the door, sobbing and wailing.
"Mamá," Ana whispered through the wooden door. "Are you okay?"
She could hear her mother crying, then trying to catch her breath.
Ana put her hand on the knob and turned it. She pulled open the door and peeked inside. Her mother leaned against the wall with one hand and turned and looked at Ana through puffy red eyes. Her mother's hand trembled as she reached up to wipe the tears that streamed down her cheeks.
"Ana," her father said from the hall, "leave Mamá alone, por favor." Ana felt confused and afraid. Her papá's eyes were also red and he, too, had been crying.
"Your sister Lucía-," he started, then stopped. He drew a deep breath and then said quickly, "Your sister has died."
Ana heard the words, but she didn't really understand. She was too young to comprehend the meaning of death and grief. All she saw was that Mamá and Papá were crying, and that made her uneasy and afraid.
"Okay," Ana whispered, backing away from the door.
She knew that her mother had gone to the hospital and given birth to her youngest sister in the summertime. She knew that Lucía was sick and that her mother had come home without the baby. Mamá went to see Lucía at the hospital every morning but always returned home alone.
Ana had never met her baby sister, and now she never would.
Lucía died when she was two months old.
Excerpted from Ana's Story by Jenna Bush Copyright © 2007 by Jenna Bush. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Mia Baxter graduated from University of Texas with a degree in photojournalism. She has worked as a freelance editorial documentary photographer in New York before interning for UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mia Baxter se graduó de Fotoperiodismo en la Universidad de Texas. Trabajó como fotógrafa editorial y documental independiente en la ciudad de Nueva York antes de participar en un programa de experiencia práctica con UNICEF en Latinoamérica y el Caribe.
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