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Bonyo Bonyo header



This is a true story.
It is about a brave boy
from Kenya.
Kenya is a country on
the continent of Africa.
This boy grew up to
become a doctor.
This is the story of
Bonyo Bonyo
as he told it to me.
– Bonyo Bonyo


Bonyo Bonyo book cover

Paperback: $8.95

978-0-9819714-4-5 Amazon BN

Hardcover: $15.95
978-0-9819714-3-8 amazon


Vanita Oelschlager
Kristin Blackwood
and Mike Blanc

Ages 4-8
42 Pages



CCBC Choices 2011

Bonyo Bonyo
One of the best children's and young adult books published in 2010

CCBC Choices 2011 recommends 240 books for children and young adults from birth through high-school age.



Bonyo Bonyo is a finalist for the 2010 Book of the Year Awards in the Children's Picture Book category.



Winner of a 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Award

Bonyo Bonyo
Multicultural Non-Fiction – Young Adult
Gold Medal

The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. The Awards recognize and reward the best of these books and bring them to the attention of parents, booksellers, librarians – and to children themselves.



Booksellers throughout the country have once again voted with their nominations, and Bonyo Bonyo has been selected to appear on the Summer 2010 Kid's Indie Next List.



Bonyo Bonyo: The true story of a brave boy from Kenya is a moving and courageous story about Bonyo Bonyo, a boy, who dreams about building a hospital in his homeland village after the loss of his baby sister, Akinyi. Bonyo Bonyo’s story is an inspiration to all children who strive to make their dreams come true, even under the most difficult circumstances. He never allows his dream to escape from his head and through unwavering determination and the support of the local villagers, Bonyo Bonyo travels by foot, crossing two harsh rivers to attend school. After excelling in academics he is accepted into medical school on a scholarship in the United States where he becomes a doctor and finally reaches his goal of building a clinic in his home village.

An abundance of African tales exist and there are several multicultural informational-type books on Kenya, such as Kenya (Living in) by Ruth Thomson, but these are mainly from a bird’s-eye view, and there are few which engage the young reader with a personal perspective that conveys the difficult road Kenyan children are truly faced with every day.

One notable mention would be Laurie Halse Anderson’s, Ndito Runs, which tells the story of a young girl from the Kenyan countryside who makes the long journey to school each day. But, Bonyo Bonyo’s story differs because his story is told from his childhood, taking the long journey to school, and all the way through to adulthood where he brings his ultimate goals to fruition—becoming a doctor and opening a clinic in his homeland village.

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter and Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola are two more inspirational stories about the 2004 Nobel Prize winner, Maathai, another Kenyan native, who was educated in America and returned to her homeland to make a difference.

The story is also somewhat like the popular, Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, because Bonyo Bonyo’s approach to adversity and grief is to assume as much control over his grim situation as possible and to take on a long and hard journey to better his life.


Carolyn S. Brodie, PhD
Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Kent State University
School of Library and Information Science


MIchelle Baldini
Grant Coordinator
Kent State University
School of Library and Information Science

VanitaBooks will donate all net profits from this book to Bonyo's Kenya Mission.


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