Ryan and Jimmy

Ryan and Jimmy

5.0 1
by Herb Shoveller

The true story of a young boy who built a well halfway around the world and his life-changing friendship with a Ugandan boy.  See more details below


The true story of a young boy who built a well halfway around the world and his life-changing friendship with a Ugandan boy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shoveller's (Ryan's great-uncle) text-heavy narrative relays the inspiring story of a Canadian boy's efforts to build a well in a Ugandan village-and how that campaign spawned additional successful ventures (see Children's Bookshelf, Oct. 19). In 1998, Ryan learned from his first-grade teacher about the lack of safe drinking water in many parts of the world and performed chores to raise the $70 that his teacher told him would finance a well to supply an African village with clean water. When the people at WaterCan (who help provide safe water in poor countries), however, told Ryan that his $70 would only purchase a hand pump for a well, the determined boy stepped up his efforts and inspired an entire community to help raise the full $2,000 necessary. Soon thereafter, Ryan's teacher matched up her students with pen pals in Uganda. Here, the narrative shifts to Jimmy, Ryan's pen pal from the village where Ryan's well would be built. Ryan and Jimmy eventually met in 2000, when Ryan and his parents traveled to Uganda for the well's ceremonial opening. The overwrought, workmanlike text may be off-putting to some readers ("There's an interesting picture of this day in school in which Ryan's blond head pops up in the middle of a sea of studious black faces," reads a passage near the aforementioned photo). Yet the book's triumphant can-do message will keep most turning the pages. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
Ryan Hreljac of Kemptville, Ontario, made big dreams come true for a village full of people in Africa. When his first-grade teacher explained that it would only cost $70 to purchase a well for an entire community, Ryan was driven to succeed. When he was told that that amount would only buy a hand pump, he pressed on and earned enough from doing chores and other major contributors to purchase an entire well for the village of Agweo in Uganda. Shoveller chronicles Ryan's dream from conception to birth and his visit to the people who benefited from hard work and generosity. The project draws Ryan and his family close to a young boy in the village named Jimmy. Caring for the community does not stop with the well, and the Hreljac family manages to save Jimmy from becoming one of the child soldiers for the Lord's Resistance Army. The "pay it forward" potential of the boys' story is unfathomable. Factual, but captivating, this will challenge readers of all ages.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-When Ryan Hreljac's first-grade teacher told his class about countries where people did not have access to clean drinking water, the boy became determined to change things. This account follows his efforts from what began as one child committed to building one well, and grew over several years into an international network of fundraising, educating, and well-drilling that extended far beyond anyone's expectations. Ryan's endeavors also brought him into contact with Akana Jimmy, a youngster from Agweo Village, Uganda, the location of the first well. In 2000, Ryan went to Uganda, and the two boys met for the first time. Through their friendship and correspondence, readers will gain insight into a world in which children face unimaginable hardships. In the fall of 2002, rebel forces abducted Jimmy, and though he escaped, his life was placed in great danger. The narrative then details the Hreljacs' laborious but successful efforts to bring him to Canada. Clearly written and illustrated with full-color family photographs set against colorful backgrounds, this story is both personal and representative of the many people living in developing countries, the individuals working against all odds to help them, and the power of young people to make a difference. A great choice for booktalking or small-group sharing and discussion, with many possible connections, from social and economic to geographic and political.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When Ryan Hreljac's first-grade teacher explained that it would cost only $70 to build a well to supply clean water for an entire village in Africa, Ryan, with his parents' encouragement, decided to raise the money himself by doing household chores. Undeterred by setbacks, he gradually gained media attention, received donations from individuals and organizations throughout Canada and eventually traveled to Uganda for the unveiling of the well. There Ryan met Akana Jimmy, a young Ugandan orphan who had been his pen pal. The two were instantly close friends, and their lives became forever intertwined. As military tension increased in Uganda, Jimmy was kidnapped by rebels, and though he managed to escape, his life was still at risk. The Hreljacs helped bring him to Canada, where he was granted asylum, became a member of their family and successfully adjusted to an entirely new way of life. This inspiring true story of survival, friendship and activism is never preachy, and the text, dotted with color photographs, carefully preserves a child's eye view throughout. (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Read More

Product Details

Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 10.75(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Herb Shoveller is a former journalist and the great-uncle of Ryan Hreljac.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >