I Came From The Water: Book Review

Moses has lost his family to the floods. Then the earthquake comes. Then the chloera. Can Moses stay strong and keep going?

Title: I Came From The Water - One Haitian Boy's Incredible Tale of Survival
Author: Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrator: Mike Blanc
ISBN: 9780983290445          Language: English

Classification: Fiction based on fact
Type: Picture Book
Themes: natural disasters, survival

What's it about?This is the story of a boy called Moses who lives in Haiti. At the beginning he is a baby who is separated from his family by floods. He is taken in by an orphanage and then an earthquake strikes.

EmbraceThe story has a good pace to it. Simple sentences as used. It includes an actual event that occurred. It includes several pages at the back about the event and a boy who was interviewed that inspired the story.

BewareNot a fan of the illustrative style on this book though I've loved other work by Mike Blanc. The story is missing something.

My ThoughtsI like it when a picture book is written as fiction is based on actual events that occurred. To me, when a fiction book incorporates an event it makes is far easy to engage students in learning about an event and the impact it has on the people there. Having written that this book just doesn't quite tick the boxes for me.

The story is written in first person by Moses - though his actual name is unknown I presume since he was put in a basket and carried downstream (a Bible reference and how he got his name of Moses). The problem is he tells the reader that he lost his mother, father, brother, sister, and grandma - but how can he know that when he is a baby? How can he know that but not his name? For me this was a rather annoying aspect of the book.

The other element that lets this book down is the "and then" concept. There were floods AND THEN the earthquake AND THEN the cholera. While yes, those things occur that's a lot of heavy subject material to take in for a child on what is already a pretty confronting book seeing as how the boy is an orphan now.

The religious theme in the book will definitely not be for everyone.

Finally, and this will probably be a positive to some readers depending on your beliefs, Father Rick seems to be the solution for a lot. I'm not saying this guy didn't step up and help where needed but most men of religious tend to be more humble whereas this book kind of makes his role a bit like "he's a god" so to speak. The religious theme in the book will definitely not be for everyone.

This book would most likely work best in Christian faith-based schools who look to teach empathy through biographical resources. It's just not a book that I would find useful.

Special thanks to Vanita Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of the book.

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