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Over a Thousand Hills, I Walk with You

New or Used: $9.77
New or Used: $9.77
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Based on the moving and horrifying true story of a young survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, as told to her adoptive mother.

About the Author

Hanna Jansen wrote this book based on the real life experiences of her adopted daughter, Jeanne, who survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Hanna and Jeanne live in Siegburg, Germany, with Hanna's husband and the couple's twelve other children, most of whom are war orphans. Elizabeth Crawford's translations have earned many honours, including the Mildred L. Batchelor Award for outstanding translation of a children's book.


Smoothly translated, this hard-hitting book chronicles the experiences of Jansen's adopted daughter, Jeanne d'Arc Umubyeyi, the sole member of her Tutsi family to survive the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Jansen first depicts Jeanne's happy, secure life with her educator parents, older brother and younger sister. Yet the early chapters hint at trouble ahead, as the eight-year-old overhears her mother and a friend discussing political unrest in Rwanda and news of the persecution of Tutsis. As Jeanne listens to this, "the sense of an approaching calamity crept up to her like a predator." Jansen's description of the brutal massacre that follows is candid and horrifying, especially when Jeanne witnesses the murders of her mother and brother. Some readers may feel that the opening notes for each chapter, from Jansen to her daughter, disrupt the narrative flow as the author reflects on the vastness of Jeanne's loss and the depth of her strength and resilience (she likens the girl's resolve to that of her namesake: "Jeanne d'Arc of the thousand hills, you are a fighter!"). But the account of Jeanne's survival is remarkable and inspiring, as she indeed proves herself a fighter in many ways, battling sadness, extreme physical discomfort and an acute sense of loneliness. The heroine's story ends on a welcome note of hope, as the author describes a girl riding on an airplane, bound for Germany, where after "a time of getting to know each other" she will know "that she belongs to us." Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 9 Up-The patient encouragement of the author to help her adopted daughter, Jeanne d'Arc Umubyeyi, come to terms with her memories provides the frame for this account of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. When Jeanne was eight, Hutu neighbors massacred her family and destroyed her home; she witnessed the murder of her mother and brother, as well as other Tutsis, strangers and family friends. Beautifully crafted and smoothly translated, this searing novel is all the more remarkable for the sense of place it conveys through vividly remembered details of an African world where the mundane experiences of daily life were cataclysmically interrupted by a few months of unimaginable violence. Jeanne's courage, will to live, and understandable anger come through clearly, leading readers to wonder how a person or a country can ever recover from such events. The young woman's adoptive mother's childhood memories, mentioned in one of the chapter introductions, make explicit the connection between Rwanda and Germany. The title, taken from a story Jeanne's grandmother told, also reminds readers of the importance of human connections and continued trust. Painful to read, but unforgettable, this book will provoke thought and discussion.-Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"This is an extraordinary and devastating book. It needs to be on the school curriculum, like the Diary of Anne Frank, or All Quiet on the Western Front. I will never forget it." * Emma Thompson * "At its heart the Rwandan tragedy was profoundly personal. Personal for every man, woman and child who experienced the terror, who lost those they loved. This novel captures with great poignancy the terrible cost to the youngest and most vulnerable." * Fergal Keane * "Remarkable . . . a profound and often beautiful book." * Observer * "At times I couldn't bear to carry on reading...vividly told." * Berlie Doherty * "A powerful testimony of the genocide in Rwanda, and the events leading up to it." * Mary Blewitt, SURF - the Rwandan Genocide Survivor's Fund *

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