The subtitle of this book really tells most of the story of the book. It is an inspiring story of a brave little girl who at nine, with the help of her sponsors, came half way around the world by herself in order to have the chance to walk on her own two feet. Rebekah had been born with twisted arms and legs and her parents were urged by others in her home in Rwanda to abandon her by the side of the road and let her die. But her parents refused to do that. Instead, they encouraged her to do everything that she possibly could do and then go beyond that.
Doctors in Rwanda tried to straighten her legs once when she was about four, but it didn’t work. Rebekah could not walk to school, so her younger sister taught her everything she was learning each evening when she came home. Rebekah taught herself to walk, instead of crawling around on the ground. However, she had to walk on the tops of her feet since her feet were twisted all the way to the back. Nevertheless, she persisted, and although she never could get her arms to work correctly, she learned how to eat and brush her teeth. One day she found out that a person from America had sponsored her, providing her family with a guarantee of food and a chance for her to go to school. This is itself encouraged her to keep up working toward her goal of walking and going to school.
She did not know that her sponsor was a doctor in America. One day another family who had sponsored children from her village came to visit them. Mr. Clay Davis saw her need and realized that he knew her sponsor and that her sponsor, Dr. Rice, might be able to find another doctor who could help Rebekah walk. Thus began the saga of Rebekah’s struggle to be able to walk. Her father and mother knew that she had lived for a reason, and so they were able to let their little girl go to a strange land with people they did not know to find the help they could not give.
The author of the book is Mrs. Clay Davis. Meredith and Clay Davis not only helped Rebekah come to the U.S. They provided a home for her and treated her as their own daughter through the years that she had to undergo treatments and surgeries. She tells Rebekah’s story from her firsthand knowledge and uses Rebekah’s words to explain all of Rebekah’s emotional turmoil.
I think this book deserves a place in every library. It is a testimony to the power of faith and perseverance. While the people involved in the story are obviously Christian, the story is not overtly about their faith. It shines through, though, because faith is like that. When it exists, people notice, even if editors may have pruned out overt religious references. Buy this for your upper elementary and middle school children – even if it is only for the cultural references which abound in the book.