Sunday, March 3, 2013

MMGM: Bonyo Bonyo by Vanita Oelschlager

Date Published: April 1st 2010
ISBN: 098197144X
Genre: Nonfiction, biography
Themes: Education, dreams, persistance, cultural diversity, community

About The Book: "Bonyo Bonyo" is a true story about how a Kenyan boy's courage and determination, along with critical support from family and strangers, helped him to live his dream of becoming a physician.

First Line: This is a true story.

One Great Passage: "In my village, there was a word that meant togetherness. That word was "harrambee." I will never forget how everyone helped me. I knew that someday I would help them." 

Illustration From Bonyo, Bonyo

Kristin Blackwood

Who: She has a degree from Kent State University in Art History. In addition to teaching and her design work, Kristin enjoys being a mother to her two daughters.
More of Blackwoods's Work

What Other's Are Saying: "Young readers will appreciate the details that describe life in rural Kenya e.g.we had brown cows and goats, too. A smattering of Swahili words provides cultural context as Bonyo describes everyday realities. We ate mostly ugali.
      These strengths make the book worthy of recommendation. However, the text reads in an occasionally halting style due to extensive direct quoting and little additional narrative. While the verbatim recollections lend authenticity to the book, some passages could have been smoothed out with additional narrative from the author." —Africa Access

"Inspirational” is the word for this picture-book biography of a poor child in rural Kenya who grows up to become a successful doctor in the U.S. and returns to set up a clinic in his home village...     The quiet, triumphant climax shows people today lining up with their babies at Dr. Bonyo’s village clinic. The message of harrambee, of togetherness, is universal."

Other Bloggers Weigh In:
Meeting Vanita Oelschlager
The Children's Book Review

What I Thought: I believe it's important for Tweens to learn about other cultures, different points of view and begin realizing they are part of a diverse beautiful world full of extraordinary people. One of the best ways is to introduce them to non-fiction biographies. This is a great one. I especially was impressed with how important getting an education was to Bonyo. 

Find out more about Dr. Bonyo's Kenyan Mission here.

About The Author: 
Vanita Oelschlager
Vanita Books, LLC—Find out how 100% of net profits all go to support multiple sclerosis. 

Who: Vanita is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.

She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.

She has also supported and helped Jim as he built Oak Associates, ltd. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won't go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this "elephant", and to share some of the larger lessons about life they've learned through the disease.

What non-fiction middle grade books have you enjoyed?

Be sure to check out other MMGM reviewers listed in my sidebar!!


  1. I've always enjoyed biographies. this sounds like a good one for kids...and adults.

  2. It's so important to stretch beyond ourselves...

  3. Definitely need to check out more non-fiction MG!! Thanks for highlighting such an interesting read :)

  4. This sounds like a book I will be able to learn a lot from. Thanks for sharing!


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