Huntington Beach Reads One Book announces the 2011 featured
book: “Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child”
The Huntington Beach Reads One Book 2010 book selection, “They
Poured Fire on Us From the Sky” provides insight into the “back
stories” of refugees in the Southern California community. Relating
the story to our local community, Orange County is the fourth largest
refugee resettlement sanctuary for those granted asylum in the U.S.
About “They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky”:
In the mid 1980's, troops of the fundamentalist government in Northern
Sudan began attacking villages in the south. As their houses burned,
their parents killed, and their sisters taken into slavery, over
27,000 little boys fled into the night.
Many no more than five or six years old, barefoot and naked, without
food or water, these little boys—forced to be men—began the epic
journey that would take them a thousand miles across Sudan into
Ethiopia. They crossed deserts and mountains, dodged enemy fire
and wild animals and endured thirst, starvation and disease. Less
than half survived.
Five years later, they reached Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.
They began to learn English sitting under trees and writing in the
sand. For the next nine years, living on a half cup of cornmeal
a day, they dedicated themselves to education. They became known
to the world as the “Lost Boys of Sudan.”
With over two million of
their countrymen killed, the United States recognized their hopeless
situation and welcomed 3800 Lost Boys to this country as refugees.
Most of them live in California, according to Judy Bernstein, a
volunteer with the San Diego International Rescue Committee and
co-author of “They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky.”
About the authors:
Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak currently live in
San Diego County along with Bernstein. Their compelling story—told
from the viewpoint of children—and gentle spirit is a moving experience
for readers. Without parents to guide them, the “Lost Boys” emerged
as polite, kind, and capable young men. Readers will enjoy hearing
about the authors’ first experiences in America.
“They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky” is an award winner and a Los
Angeles Times best seller. The Times describes the book as “remarkably
without condemnation or self-pity, and the boys exhibit an underlying
innocence and purity.” The Washington Post’s reviewer, Emily Wax,
calls the book a “tender and lyrical story, the world of some of
Africa's most desperate children -- running away from war and toward
life.” Benson, Aleph and Benjamin found their life in California.
HB Reads is bringing the authors to Huntington Beach on March 11,
2010. They will meet with local high school students at a multi-high
school assembly during the day and with the public at an evening
program at Huntington Beach High School. HB Reads will host other
events related to the book, bringing to life a moving community
reading experience. Watch for event updates on the “Calendar and
Events” page of this website.