My Name Is Blessing

Today is bittersweet, because it's our last official day of Spring Break 2016. What a glorious week of restoration and rejuvenation it has been. The sun shining through my window is calling me outside for some more Vitamin D, so today's post will be short and sweet. It's a bittersweet story about kindness and hope, one which was shared with me by my friend Jen Hammerle. 

Click the book cover to go to the author's website
Based on the true account of a Kenyan child with a physical disability, this tale finds a young Muthini living with a kind grandmother Mumo, who is struggling to make ends meet for him and his eight cousins. Check out this beautiful book's trailer:

Mumo, whose name means Grace, is forced with a difficult decision to journey to a Orphanage where Muthini might have a chance at a better life, but will they even allow a child whose name means Suffering to stay?

On my first reading, I wasn't sure I liked that the Orphanage was going to change the little boy's name, and I'm not sure my students will either. Use this as a springboard for a discussion about the importance of a name. What might, could, would be the difference in life for a child whose name means Suffering vs. one whose name means Blessing? Should the Orphanage take Muthini as he is or is there a benefit in changing his name? What does this have to do with mindset?

Create an empathy experience: After reading the book aloud, ask for a volunteer and tape that student's fingers down to recreate what it was like for Muthini Baraka to only have the use of two fingers on his one hand and none on his other. What skills might they still do handily? What things will be difficult to do without assistance? What is the experience of missing fingers like? How does it feel? What do you want or need to adapt and thrive?

Blessings are everywhere. As a follow-up activity, encourage students to make a list of their blessings. Can they get to 50? 100? 500?

For more engaging activity suggestions from the publisher, click {here}. For more information about the author's work at Creation of Hope, click {here}. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I read this book! It melted my heart. But, it is so upbeat. I love your discussion questions for your students. Children are so adaptable. When you are born with a disability, you don't know anything different. I was born congenital eye deformity and am legally blind in one eye. For me, I didn't know what I was missing/seeing. I remember teachers making a fuss and there were things I wasn't allowed to do -- all the way to college. It only made me more determined. I did those things anyway just to prove to myself I could and they were wrong. That early experience made me see the glass half full at an early age.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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