Emma and the African Wishing Bead by Valerie Redmond
(Summary taken from the back cover) "Emma and the African Wishing Bead" is a story about two girls, separated by an ocean and united by their dreams. It is about the beauty we all have to offer the world when we follow our passions, believe in ourselves, and unleash our true potential."
I am in love with this book! It is fantastic! The story is well written, and the pictures are bright and beautiful. The content of this story is so needed today. This book tells the story of a girl who finds a bead on the beach. She just knows it is magical, and it is. How is it magical? Well, the story takes you back in time and shows you where the bead started out, in Africa. A little girl found it while sitting under a tree by the river. Her grandmother explains that it is a wishing bead. When you find one you sit and think about everything you are thankful for, then you put the bead on a string and tie as many knots as things you are thankful for so it stays on tight. Then you make a wish on the bead. Everyday you think of your dream and you plan how you can achieve that dream. Then someday, when the bead falls off, you let it be and you do not pick it up. Your dream will come true, and someone else will find it, and it will make her dream come true in the same way. Such a wonderful story for girls (and boys) to hear. You learn about the child living in Africa and how she just wants to be able to go to school, or have a well in the village so she doesn't need to haul water from the river to her house. I know my kids take running water for granted. I know they take their education for granted. I love stories that help my children see outside of their small world. I love that this story takes them out of our nice home and into an area where people don't have all the things we take for granted. I love that they can learn about how other people live, and I love that it teaches them to dream and to work hard for their dreams.
Another great thing about this book is that, by purchasing this book, you can actually help a girl in Africa go to school. Half of the proceeds go to the Canadian Harambee Education Society (CHES), "a non-profit organization which provides secondary school scholarships to girls in Kenya and Tanzania." You can also purchase your own wishing beads by going to: www.wishingbead.com . These beads are handmade in Kenya at the Kazuri bead factory. You may find out more about the company at www.kazuriwest.com .
I received a bead with my book and it is beautiful. I hope it never breaks off because I don't want to let it go.
There are so many things to love about this book! I highly recommend it for girls and boys of all ages. Having a dream and then making that dream come true (not just waiting around for someone else to make it happen) is something every child (and lots of adults too) can learn from. Also, learning about the world around us is so beneficial for children. It's good for me too; it never hurts to be reminded how blessed we are. I love uplifting children's books, and this one is my new favorite!
Rating: G (Clean!!!)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
P.S. I have not checked out either CHES or Kazuri. I am not endorsing them or giving my stamp of approval; I'm simply putting the info. on the book on my site so you can go check it out if you want to.