My Name is Blessing book cover

My Name is Blessing

Based on the life of a real boy, this warm-hearted, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Baraka, a young Kenyan boy with a physical disability. Baraka and eight cousins live with their grandmother. She gives them boundless love, but there is never enough money or food, and life is hard --love doesn't feed hungry stomachs or clothe growing bodies, or school keen minds. Baraka is too young, and, with his disability, needs too much, and she is too old. A difficult choice must be made, and grandmother and grandchild set off on a journey to see if there is a place at the orphanage for Baraka. The story begins by looking at Baraka's physical disability as a misfortune, but ends by looking beyond the disability, to his great heart and spirit, and the blessings he brings.

Ideal for:
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty October 17, Global Accessibility Awareness Day May 19, International Day of Persons with Disabilities December 3

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My Name is Blessing. Text © 2014 Eric Walters Illustrations © 2014 Eugenie Fernandes. Reproduced by permission of Tundra Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, a Penguin Random House Company, Toronto.

This story of an African boy plagued by disability, poverty and prejudice, and ultimately saved by love, is unfailingly respectful… Every child can be enriched by the unsentimental, honest and enlightening text and be carried away by the beautifully realized art suffused with the burnt orange tones of the African Savannah… The turn of phrase reflected in the title is highly poignant.

Jury, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (2014)

Book Creators

Eric Walters

Eric Walters portrait

Eric Walters is one of Canada's best-known and most prolific writers of fiction for children and young adults. His books have won over 120 awards, including thirteen separate children's choice awards, and have been translated into thirteen languages. He lives in Guelph, Ontario, and is the co-founder of Creation of Hope, a charity that provides care for orphans in the Mbooni district of Kenya. In 2014, Eric was named a Member of the Order of Canada "for his contribution as an author of literature for children and young adults whose stories help young readers grapple with complex social issues."

Eugenie Fernandes

Eugenie Fernandes portrait

My world is yellow and blue and green. I grew up on the beach. I painted with my father — comic-book illustrator Creig Flessel. We made up stories sitting on the front porch. Birds flew down from the sky and sat on my shoulder. Cats purred. Frogs hopped. I have always lived on islands ... a house on Long Island, an apartment on Manhattan Island, a thatch hut on an island in the middle of the South Pacific, and now ... I live and work in a little house ... on a little island ... in a little lake in southern Ontario. Summer and winter ... starting at the crack of dawn, I paint every day. Eugenie graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She lives near Peterborough, Ontario.