Book Review: Ryan and Jimmy

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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This is just a wonderful book! First of all, it's a wonderful story, of friendship and determination and goodwill and loyalty. Secondly, it's a well-written story as well. The author makes the events flow and the characters come alive. Even though this is a true story, it reads like a novel.

The book is Ryan and Jimmy: and the Well in Africa that Brought Them Together from Kids Can Press. The author is Herb Shoveller.

Ryan is an American student who hears that kids in Africa don't have fresh water. A determined child, Ryan decides to do something about it. He decides to save money to help buy a well for those poor kids.

Where Ryan's determination takes him and what happens as a result, in his family and in his class and in his neighborhood, is nothing short of magical. The generosity of people Ryan knows and people he has never heard of (but who have heard of him) is overwhelming.

The friendship that Ryan has with Jimmy, his pen pal, is touching as well. Jimmy lives in the village in which Ryan wants to help build the well. That village is in Uganda, in a very poor part of one of the poorest parts of Africa. Ryan and Jimmy write each other letters and learn all about each other and the worlds they live in.

The pictures that illustrate this story are tremendous to look at as well. The borders around these pictures are a bit overpowering at first, but you'll get used to them after awhile. The photos help tell this heart-warming story, one that is sure to resonate with you long after you finish reading it.

Follow Ryan and Jimmy as they aspire to meet and one inspires the other to travel around the world, speaking out to raise awareness (in all its forms) of a pressing problem.

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