Cover Image: Bonyo Bonyo

Bonyo Bonyo

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars.

Bonyo Bonyo by Vanita Oelschlager is the uplifting tale of Dr. Bonyo Bonyo, a real doctor from a small village in Kenya. This picture book shows his journey from childhood to adulthood, from Kenya to the USA, and back to Kenya. 

This story really emphasises the importance of getting an education and following your dreams, no matter how far away they may seem, and it shows us how we can achieve anything, especially when we work together within our communities. Dr. Bonyo's story is an important one, and it is worth reading here. The illustrations really bring the story to life, and I have to say they were probably my favourite aspect of this book. I think the writing style was a little too passive, but the story was interesting enough to help move it along.

I would definitely recommend Bonyo Bonyo to anyone looking for a good picture book about a real person, or anyone hoping to share the story of Dr. Bonyo Bonyo with the children in their lives.
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This was a moving story about the life of a doctor from Kenya, and how he went from the poorest village to contributing back to his people. It is such a motivational story to read, and also gives children an idea of all that they take for granted here in the US. I recommend this book for parents to discuss culture and hardship with their children. Through this story, children can learn about dedication and hard work. They can also be inspired to do something for those who helped them. This book was very well written, nicely illustrated. I enjoyed reading it and talking to my own children about the hardships people go through in order to get an education.
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This is the biographical story of Bonyo Bonyo, a boy born in Kenya who became a doctor in the USA and returned to his country to build a medical clinic. The narration is too wordy for kids and some life events are narrated in a cold way, without giving anything to kids to cope with it while reading it.
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I loved the simple, elegant writing style of this book beautifully complemented by the rich illustrations. I also really enjoyed the book's message of determination and persistence. So often we see the 'white saviour' trope where a well-intentioned white man saves the poor little African boy but Bonyo Bonyo saves himself through the help of his village and by using his own initiative. I appreciated that when Bonyo achieved success, he came back and helped his own people. The fact this is all based on a true story and that proceeds from the sale of the book goes to support worthwhile causes makes the read all the more worthwhile.
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This is a true story about a Kenyan boy who was able to live out his dream of becoming a physician. It took a lot of courage, determination, and support from his family and strangers. His pursuit took him away from his family and country, but after years of study he was able to come back as a doctor and establish a much needed clinic.

This is a very inspiring story and a good one for all ages. That said, it’s a bit too wordy for a children’s book. It’s first person POV and beautifully written otherwise.
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4★
"The man said, ‘That is where I teach. If your parents will let you, you can come to my school. It will cost you nothing.’ He told me how I could get there in two days walking."

Bonyo Bonyo tells his story about growing up in Western Kenya in a small village in poverty. Like many kids he love playing soccer, but they just had a ball made of cloth stuffed with whatever they could find.

His grandmother used to tell the kids ghost stories, and Bonyo said he thought she probably wanted to frighten the kids so they'd be too scared to sneak outside at night and she could sleep without worrying about them.

Illustration of Grandma terrifying the children with ghost stories!

When Bonyo was a boy he decided he wanted to be a doctor, because his baby sister had died and nobody could help. He loved school but the family couldn't afford it, until he met a man who said he could go to the school where he was the principal.

Great! It's only a two-day walk to get there! WHAT? Two days???

Illustration of Bonyo carrying his few worldly goods to walk two days across country to school.

Long story short, he got there safely, he eventually was able to go to the United States to medical school, and came home to open a clinic named for his beloved mother.

Illustration of Doctor Bonyo visiting the clinic in Kenya

This is a wonderful biography for children to learn what it is to crave an education and what it is to have to "walk to school". This is longer and more detailed than other children's picture books, and there's quite a bit of writing. The illustrations are so bright that even little children will begin to enjoy hearing the story even before they're able to understand it all.

Thanks to NetGalley and Vanitabooks for the preview copy from which I've pinched a few pictures. It's another good one to add to classrooms and school libraries to help children learn about the world.
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I have to thank Jennifer (Tar Heel Reader) for her review of this book on Goodreads. I was fortunate to be able to read the story of Bonyo Bonyo via Netgalled. Bonyo's story begins when he is a small child in Western Kenya. After the death of his baby sister, he dreams that he will become a doctor so that he will be able to help others. The author tells us the concept of Harrambee which means togetherness. It is through this concept that Bonyo gets to realize his dream. He meets lovely people who help him, a principal who allows him to go to his school despite the family's inability to pay the $1 tuition. Bonyo walks, by himself and without shoes, for two days to get to the school. Other opportunities appear and Bonyo's community help him realize his dream to come to America to study medicine. Dr. Bonyo returns to Kenya and sets up a clinic just liked he dreamed. 

This book has both a beautiful message and magnificent illustrations. Thank you to Netgalley and author Vanita Oelschager for allowing me to read the story. The book will be released on April 1, 2018 and I'll be buying copies for the children in my life, and will request that my local library purchase the book.
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I found Bonyo Bonyo's story quite the inspiration. Born in a village in Kenya where his parents could not afford to send him to school, Bonyo Bonyo later became a doctor and returned to his village to found its first clinic. Beautifully illustrated, this children's story emphasizes the hard work and determination Bonyo had in making his dreams come true. A story for all ages. 

Thanks to Vanita Oelschlager and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Enlightening but rather a distant tone, I felt. Western children have so much drama served to them that they seem to need to have the emotion made explicit or they overlook it.
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An amazing story with bright, bold illustrations. A powerful tale of being brave, following dreams, and helping others.
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This is a sweet children's book about a young Kenyan boy who persevered in his dream to become a doctor, even as it took him far away from his home and family. It's a great story for small kids with big dreams! I only worry that Bonyo himself isn't credited as a coauthor, and wish he were getting that credit, considering it is his story as he told it to the credited author, and the text is presented in such a way that it makes it sound like it is a direct quote from a recording by Bonyo.
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This is a wonderful children's book based on a true story.

It describes the journey of Bonyo Bonyo who was born in a small village in Kenya. Although his family was poor and could not afford to pay for his school he was able to graduate high school, attend University in the United States and become a doctor. 

After becoming a doctor he fulfilled his childhood dream of building a hospital in his village and "give back" to his people. It is truly a inspirational story.
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Great to depict his childhood, too wordy for kids, okay but abrupt real life details ending.
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Based on a true story, Bonyo Bonyo recounts the childhood of a young Kenyan boy determined to follow his dreams to become a doctor and give aid to the people of his home village. When we are first introduced to Bonyo, he is an average child who loved playing sports with his friends and  listening to stories told by his grandmother. But his carefree childhood is short lived when he experiences two traumatic events: the death of his sister and the death of his academic dreams. However, through fate and destiny, he is able to revive his academic pursuits and with his determination and remembrance of his sister etched in his mind, he is able to circumvent a hard path that not many are able to do.
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Bonyo Bonyo, The True Story of a Brave Boy from Kenya by Vanita Oelschlager. VanitaBooks LLC. Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Nonfiction. 5+ Stars. Fantastic nonfiction book about a boy from Kenya who dreamed of becoming a doctor and what it took to realize his dream, with a bit about his home village people and the early years of Dr. Bonyo. Wonderful illustrations by Kristin Blackwood and Mike Blanc. Highly recommended! Thanks to NetGalley and VanitaBooks LLC for providing this ebook for review.
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I enjoyed reading this book and I'm confident my kids will love it. It offers great motivation to vulnerable children especially in Africa as it portrays the power of chasing after your dreams. Bonyo's story reveals an often missing link in many motivational books - how other people influence your dream. I recommend this book.
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A true inspirational story for children with a multicultural setting which will definitely give them a glimpse of what hardships some people have to suffer to acquire things they get so easily. The theme of following your dreams no matter what comes your way is of such significance and is effortlessly imbued in this book. 

I adore the theme of people helping other people to accomplish their goals; in a world where the light of tolerance and humanity is slowly diminishing, it is indeed very refreshing to read the biography of someone who was helped by a lot of people along the way to reach his ultimate dream and then him contributing back to the same community that helped him! The importance of getting an education is also highlighted in the book, which I think is great considering so many children these days who are offered education on a silver platter hardly make the most of it. The illustrations were mesmerizing - especially the one where the granny is telling a bedtime story.

It's a touching non-fiction story and certainly one that will continue inspiring me whenever I'm not grateful enough for all that I have as well as when I feel undetermined to accomplish my goals, because I will surely remember the circumstances in which Dr. Bonyo made his breakthrough!
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An excellent and concise story concerning a quiet hero.
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I love this book! Bonyo Bonyo is a very inspiring read for children and a wonderful story to teach your child about trying and hard work.
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Amazing story written perfectly to help children understand the life of people with less resources than themselves. Also, a great way to inspire children and show that hard work can lead to great things. For a story that deals with so many hardships, it is written clearly and easy for a child to understand.
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