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

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

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by Vanita Oelschlager, Mike Blanc
     
 

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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

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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.

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:
09/01/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,123,443
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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