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One day it started to rain.
And rain. And rain.
AND RAIN.
The small river grew
big and angry.
– I Came From the Water

 

Paperback: $8.95
978-0-9832904-5-2 Amazon BN

 

Hardcover: $15.95
978-0-9832904-4-5 Amazon

BN

Author:
Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrator:
Mike Blanc

Ages 4-8
40 Pages

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The Castle Library

Jackie Castle

January, 2013


The Queen here with a touching story of young Moses. No, not the one from the Bible, yet, one with a vaguely similar story. This young man survived a flood by being put in a basket. He lost everything, yet grew up in an orphanage, happy. During this story of his life, he experienced another flood and an earthquake. Yet, remained even to this day, happy.

 

I encourage you to read "I Came From The Water" by Vanita Oelschlager for an uplifting story of overcoming tragedy and remaining strong in the process.

 


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Kid Lit Reviews

December, 2012


I Came from Water (subtitled), One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival, is a story based on true events, told from the viewpoint of a surviving child. Moses was an infant when floods destroyed his hometown killing many people, including his entire family. Moses believes his grandmother was who tucked him into a basket and sent him afloat on the river. A priest and nun found him near the orphanage in Port-au-Prince. A nun at the orphanage named the infant in the basket Moses after the biblical infant Moses, who also floated down a river. The child was six when interviewed in 2010 by the author. When asked where he came from, Moses replied “I came from the water.”

 

The story is told in free verse using Moses’ voice. He describes the river as growing “big and angry. “ The river pulled in his family and himself. Moses was in a basket, floating down the river until found by “a deep voice, like my father’s. “ From that day forward, he has lived in the St. Helene Children’s Village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

 

Moses’ life is filled with the constant natural disasters that hit Haiti. In 2004, when an infant, floods took his family and home. In 2010 a hurricane hit Port-au-Prince and a wave of cholera struck, placing many under tents in a tent-city. Moses has never lost the happiness he feels and his optimism seems to grow with each passing day. He prides himself on being strong and able to help others and sees himself one day driving a “tap-tap,” taking people where they need to go.

 

The illustrations depict Moses’ life with detail. Houses flip upside down and people fly into the river. The orphanage is bright and cheery until another disaster strikes Haiti, then the art fractures again to represent the earthquake.I did not like the first picture of Father Rick, the pastor who ran the orphanage and school. It makes him look larger than life, and he probably was to Moses, yet I find it a bit much. The good priest is standing in his vestments, arms stretched out, filling the entire page. He looks huge standing above the alter and candle.

 

Moses is a model of resilience. Today he is eight-years-old and has seen more disasters that have hurt so many, he himself having lost his entire family, yet he loves his country of Haiti and he loves the people of Haiti. Moses displays unbelievable strength for such a young boy.

 


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Publisher's Weekly

October, 2012

 

Oelschlager (who has collaborated with Blanc on several books, most recently A Tale of Two Mommies) shares the real-life story of an eight-year-old Haitian boy who, as an infant, was packed into a basket during a catastrophic flood, rescued, and sent to a children's village, where he was named Moses. "That's because I was just like the baby in the Bible," he tells the author. Moses describes the priest who runs the village—"We call him Father Rick"—and the new children who arrived after the great earthquake of 2012: "I am one of the strong ones," he says. "I must help those who are not as strong." Blanc's illustrations present an upbeat, hopeful picture of Moses’ life; he appears with his friends in a neat uniform, bright-eyed and smiling. Only a couple pictures hint at a grimmer reality, such as one of a limp child with cholera in a hospital bed: "The people who came with Father Rick helped some get better. But some went to Heaven." While Moses’ story is a useful introduction to Haiti, religious references may limit its audience. Ages 4–10.


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Booklist

Hazel Rochman

November, 2012

 

After a baby survives Haiti’s devastating 2004 floods by floating down a river in a basket (“Maybe my grandmother put me there / I don’t remember”), his rescuers at the orphanage name him Moses. With spare free verse and bright, digitally created artwork, this moving picture book, based on true events, personalizes the recent news images. The miraculous story is told through the viewpoint of Moses, now eight years old: a wall of water and mud buried much of his village, his family disappeared, and he was saved. Then an earthquake came, followed by cholera. Now the boy helps a priest and the sisters in an orphanage save other victims. Without ever denying the realities of devastation, the child’s voice tells an astonishing survival drama that connects with contemporary stories of people helping to rebuild homes, buildings, and schools after natural disasters. Final pages include color photos of the individuals and the orphanage that inspired the story, along with a brief interview with the real-life Moses.


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Perfect Chaos

Stacie Wyatt

December, 2012

 

I read I Came From the Water by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Mike Blanc. The book told of Moses, a young Haitian boy. He survived a hurricane because his relatives placed him in a basket and sent him down the river (Similar to Moses in the bible). He was rescued by Nuns in an orphanage. Moses does not let his setbacks stop him. He wants to help. I highly recommend reading this book. The book was a quick read on Reader for PC. The graphics were amazing, as normal. This book was based on a real-life story. Vanita has an interview with Moses at the end of the book. She also placed pictures of the church, orphanage, and hospitals. Finally, she provides a brief history of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.


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Betsy McEntarffer
Secretary, Library Media Services, Lincoln Public School

July, 2012

 

I like so many things about this book… the maps in front and back add much to the reader’s enjoyment and understanding. The back matter… especially the photographs of the people and places related in Moses’ story - will make it more real and meaningful for students. The illustrations of the flood and earthquake… what an intriguing way of showing the power and horror of the event without being ‘gory’ for young children. First person narrative…by telling the story in his own unique voice Moses invites the reader right into the story.

I am the secretary for a school district committee of educators who read and review children’s books about underrepresented people in the U.S. and the world. We are presenting book talks and teaching ideas at the opening of our 21st annual display in October of this year. I am speaking about the book, Chained by Lynne Kelly [Farrar Straus Giroux, ©2012] which takes place in India and is about a young boy who is debt bonded to a cruel circus owner. I will try to give teachers ideas for using the book as an illustration of circumstances that can be changed, through acts of caring, by people like themselves and their students. I’d like to use I Came from the Water as an example of one of these acts of caring. While there have been several wonderful picture books about Haiti’s earthquake, Moses shows the cycle of hardship and disaster that people living not far from us experience - and the beautiful and resilient parts of their lives as well. I also want to talk about the stability that comes to impoverished people with fair trade and nonprofit, cooperative microloan organizations like Ten Thousand Villages and SERRV who work with Haiti’s and India’s craftspeople.

Thank you so much for allowing me to preview your lovely book on NetGalley – I would not otherwise have known of this unique and useful resource.


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The Baytown Sun
by JoAn Martin

July, 2012

 

Moses was born in a town by a small river in Haiti. But then the rains came. The river took Moses’ entire family away, but the infant Moses floated in a basket.

Someone rescued the baby and now Moses lives in St. Helene Children’s Village with other children who have no parents.

After the earthquake, the village had many more children for the sisters to take care of. Moses helped the weaker children, but cholera took many children to heaven. The author has captured the horrors of floods and earthquakes told in Moses’ voice.

Subtitled, “One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival,” it is an unusual tale in which an 8-year-old boy maintains his humor while facing such challenges.

The artist shows the location of the story immediately. The reader opens the title page and is immersed into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The island of Haiti is highlighted.

VanitaBooks will donate 10% from each book sold to Father Rick and Sister Judy for their work at St. Damien and St. Helene.

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