I Came From the Water: One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival

( 3 )

Overview

The story is based on the actual experiences of Moses, an eight year-old boy and resident of St. Helene’s orphanage outside Port-au-Prince. As an infant, he was lit- erally plucked from the waters of a nearby river, having been placed in a basket by whom we believe was his grandmother. The rest of his family perished in floods that wiped out their upland village in 2004. He was given his name by the nuns at St. Helene’s. The title is Moses’ reply to the author when she asked ...

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Overview

The story is based on the actual experiences of Moses, an eight year-old boy and resident of St. Helene’s orphanage outside Port-au-Prince. As an infant, he was lit- erally plucked from the waters of a nearby river, having been placed in a basket by whom we believe was his grandmother. The rest of his family perished in floods that wiped out their upland village in 2004. He was given his name by the nuns at St. Helene’s. The title is Moses’ reply to the author when she asked where he is from.
After the earthquake of 2010 destroyed Port-au-Prince and much of the surround- ing area, the orphanage was flooded with a new wave of parentless boys and girls. Moses helped these children adapt to their new lives and in so doing displays a fearless hope and determination that may lead to Haiti’s renewal as a self-support- ing nation.
St. Helene’s orphanage is run by Father Rick Frechette known globally for his dedication to improving the lives of poor children across Latin America.
Net profits from I Came From the Water will go to support St. Helene’s and Father Rick’s efforts to help rebuild Haiti by offering a safe place to live and a free education for children like Moses.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Oelschlager (who has collaborated with Blanc on several books, most recently A Tale of Two Mommies) shares the real-life story of an eight-year-old Haitian boy who, as an infant, was packed into a basket during a catastrophic flood, rescued, and sent to a children's village, where he was named Moses. "That's because I was just like the baby in the Bible," he tells the author. Moses describes the priest who runs the village—"We call him Father Rick"—and the new children who arrived after the great earthquake of 2012: "I am one of the strong ones," he says. "I must help those who are not as strong." Blanc's illustrations present an upbeat, hopeful picture of Moses's life; he appears with his friends in a neat uniform, bright-eyed and smiling. Only a couple pictures hint at a grimmer reality, such as one of a limp child with cholera in a hospital bed: "The people who came with Father Rick helped some get better. But some went to Heaven." While Moses's story is a useful introduction to Haiti, religious references may limit its audience. Ages 4–10. (Sept.)
The Baytown Sun

Moses was born in a town by a small river in Haiti. But then the rains came. The river took Moses’ entire family away, but the infant Moses floated in a basket.

Someone rescued the baby and now Moses lives in St. Helene Children’s Village with other children who have no parents.

After the earthquake, the village had many more children for the sisters to take care of. Moses helped the weaker children, but cholera took many children to heaven. The author has captured the horrors of floods and earthquakes told in Moses’ voice.

Subtitled, “One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival,” it is an unusual tale in which an 8-year-old boy maintains his humor while facing such challenges.

The artist shows the location of the story immediately. The reader opens the title page and is immersed into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The island of Haiti is highlighted.

— Joan Martin

The Baytown Sun - Joan Martin

Moses was born in a town by a small river in Haiti. But then the rains came. The river took Moses’ entire family away, but the infant Moses floated in a basket.

Someone rescued the baby and now Moses lives in St. Helene Children’s Village with other children who have no parents.

After the earthquake, the village had many more children for the sisters to take care of. Moses helped the weaker children, but cholera took many children to heaven. The author has captured the horrors of floods and earthquakes told in Moses’ voice.

Subtitled, “One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival,” it is an unusual tale in which an 8-year-old boy maintains his humor while facing such challenges.

The artist shows the location of the story immediately. The reader opens the title page and is immersed into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The island of Haiti is highlighted.

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Readers meet Moses when he is just a baby and his family is swept away in a flood. Safe and snug in a basket, he is set adrift on the raging river. Eventually he is rescued and begins his life anew in a children's village, where he is given his biblical name. Years later, an earthquake devastates Haiti, and then another hurricane brings floods and cholera. Through it all, Moses's narration remains upbeat. The story becomes slightly disjointed at the end when the child says, "I want to help make Haiti strong so rains, cholera, and earthquakes won't take our parents and sisters and brothers away to Heaven anymore." Then on the next page he says, "When we go for a ride in town sometimes I jump on a tap-tap." In the end, Moses says, "Haiti is very beautiful. I love my Haiti." This is a wonderful sentiment, but except for the multitude of disasters it has suffered lately and the outpouring of support it has received from the world, there is little of Haiti in this title; instead, it highlights the valuable work of Father Rick Frechetti and the sisters who cared for the youngsters in the children's village they set up. The illustrations are full of movement, bright colors, and, in the palm trees, fruit stands, architecture, and painted buses, glimpses of the country shine through. End pages include an interview with Moses and full-color photos of the relief workers and some of the destruction to the island. Overall, a nice addition to collections needing titles on charitable works.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
Booklist

After a baby survives Haiti’s devastating 2004 floods by floating down a river in a basket (“Maybe my grandmother put me there / I don’t remember”), his rescuers at the orphanage name him Moses. With spare free verse and bright, digitally created artwork, this moving picture book, based on true events, personalizes the recent news images. The miraculous story is told through the viewpoint of Moses, now eight years old: a wall of water and mud buried much of his village, his family disappeared, and he was saved. Then an earthquake came, followed by cholera. Now the boy helps a priest and the sisters in an orphanage save other victims. Without ever denying the realities of devastation, the child’s voice tells an astonishing survival drama that connects with contemporary stories of people helping to rebuild homes, buildings, and schools after natural disasters. Final pages include color photos of the individuals and the orphanage that inspired the story, along with a brief interview with the real-life Moses.

— Hazel Rochman

Booklist - Hazel Rochman

After a baby survives Haiti’s devastating 2004 floods by floating down a river in a basket (“Maybe my grandmother put me there / I don’t remember”), his rescuers at the orphanage name him Moses. With spare free verse and bright, digitally created artwork, this moving picture book, based on true events, personalizes the recent news images. The miraculous story is told through the viewpoint of Moses, now eight years old: a wall of water and mud buried much of his village, his family disappeared, and he was saved. Then an earthquake came, followed by cholera. Now the boy helps a priest and the sisters in an orphanage save other victims. Without ever denying the realities of devastation, the child’s voice tells an astonishing survival drama that connects with contemporary stories of people helping to rebuild homes, buildings, and schools after natural disasters. Final pages include color photos of the individuals and the orphanage that inspired the story, along with a brief interview with the real-life Moses.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983290445
  • Publisher: VanitaBooks, LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist,

former teacher, current caregiver, author, and poet. She is a

graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she

currently serves as a Trustee. Vanita is also Writer In Residence

for the Literacy Program at The University of Akron.

Her first book, My Grampy Can't Walk, was widely praised. It's

an uplifting story about the wonderful relationship between her

husband Jim, who has multiple sclerosis, and their grandchildren. Vanita has also supported Jim as he built Oak ssociates, ltd. into a highly respected investment management firm.

Mike Blanc is a life-long professional artist. His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration to VanitaBooks. He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandkids.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

     In 2004, a Haitian flood destroys the homes and lives of many v

     In 2004, a Haitian flood destroys the homes and lives of many villagers, but a young infant was saved when his family placed him in a basket. The young boy was found floating in the basket by a sister at St. Helene’s orphanage who named him Moses. Moses knows that he will never see his family again, but as disasters continue to plague Haiti during his young life, more children arrive at St. Helene’s, and it is with these other orphanages that Moses builds his family.

    The story itself is very inspiring. Even at a young age Moses has learned compassion and is inspired to help the other children, Father Frechette, and the sisters. Moses says he came from the water, but we can see that he is truly home at St. Helene’s.

    The writing feels a little rough around the edges in areas, and the flow just feels strange. I don’t see me reading this story aloud in it’s entirety, but it’s definitely recommendable.

    Thank you to VanitaBooks and NetGalley for a copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It is safe to say, Mike Blanc is one of my favorite illustrators

    It is safe to say, Mike Blanc is one of my favorite illustrators of children's books. I see his name on a cover and I don't even care what the book is about; I just want to open it up and let my eyes drink in the images while I ooh and aah over the color, the vibrancy, the movement, the emotion.

    The publisher has listed I Came From the Water for children ages 4-8, but I admit I chose not to read it to my very sensitive, just-turned 4-year-old... not yet. (It was one of those "know your child" moments; I'm glad I read the book on my own first.) Moses's story - a moving and true story - involves a number of difficult and terrifying topics: surviving major natural disasters, losing parents or other family members, and fighting disease due to poor water and sanitation conditions.

    Vanita Oelschlager handles these themes in an amazingly sensitive and child-friendly manner. She also points out all the people who help others cope and rebuild - including how children join in to help. The final pages contain a bit of background info on Moses; photographs of others who appear in his story; brief, age-appropriate historical information about the disasters; as well as a map of Haiti, illustrated by Blanc.

    Compelling and unique, I Came From the Water is the perfect book to supplement geography and social studies learning at school or at home.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Haiti. This is the thrid book by Vanita Oelschlager that I have

    Haiti.

    This is the thrid book by Vanita Oelschlager that I have read and all are beautifully illustrated by Mike Blanc.
    This book is intended for young children, to explain how different life is for similarly aged children on the island of Haiti.
    The island, situated between North and South America, has been victim to a number of natural disasters in recent years. Moses, the boy in the story, loses his whole family in the floods of 2004. He is saved because he floats above the water in a basket, like the biblical Moses.
    Then there was an earthquake in 2010 and many more children were cared for at the orphanage where moses lives. This was followed by a hurricane, and sadly, cholera took the lives of some of the children.

    As with her other books, an adult needs to share this book, not least, to point out where Haiti is on a map. The narrative was a bit confusing on the first read, so only 4 stars for this one, but I loved the illustrations.
    There is an interesting epilogue, showing photographs of the island, orphanage and church, and also the nurse and vicar who work so tirelessly to help the Haitians.

    Part of the proceeds from the book sales will go to the orphanage, church and hospital where Moses is currently living.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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