Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 8
- Grade: k to 3
This is the fictionalized story of "Yula", a character inspired by a real girl Sharon Jennings met in her visits to the Hope Development Centre in Kenya. When four-year-old Yula is discovered by the orphanage director "Mum" and introduced to a caring home and school, her abilities develop as do her understandings of how to care for others. When a new child enters the orphanage, at first Yula is angry and jealous, but soon she warmly welcomes Mutuku just as she had been welcomed when she first arrived. Eva Campbell's evocative illustrations glow with light and colour, rendered in gouache, acrylic and ink on canvas.
Sharon Jennings is a greatly appreciated return visitor to this centre in Kikima, Kenya. The children and staff enjoy her visits and consider her a member of their Hope family. The story has been shared with the children and the Centre has given Sharon permission and thanks for telling this story; a portion of the author's royalties is going to support the orphaned and impoverished Children of Hope.
About the authors
Sharon Jennings has been published for 27 years. She is the author of over 70 books for young people – board books, picture books, reluctant reads, novels – many of which have been nominated for numerous awards and even won a few! Her middle grade novel Home Free was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, The Silver Birch Award, and the TD Award. Her latest books are Connecting Dots, a completely true work of fiction about a girl’s terrible, horrible life, and The Warning, a completely true collection of stories about the supernatural. Sharon is very involved with her community, serving as a Board Member of The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and is a three term President of The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP).
EVA CAMPBELL is an artist and illustrator who teaches visual art. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the US, the UK, Barbados and Ghana. Eva won the Children’s Africana Book Award for her illustrations in The Matatu by Eric Walters. She also illustrated Africville by Shauntay Grant, winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, and a Governor General’s Literary Award finalist. Eva lives in Victoria.
"Sharon Jennings bases this moving story on real people and places she visits in Kenya. The distinct narrative voice is compelling and immersive… Eva Campbell's realistic acrylic and ink paintings capture many tender scenes between Mum and Yula. When a new little boy arrives, Yula's range of emotions is palpable, from tear-stained jealousy to anger and insecurity, to resilience and open-armed acceptance."
— Canadian Children's Book News