Friday, April 23, 2010

North Korea: Another Country by Bruce Cumings

Interesting inside view of what the root of the problems between America and North Korea actually is. Also, I believe people's perspective of North Korea as one of the "axis of evil" countries will be changed by reading this. It becomes discouraging to me as an American to learn more and more about how little we practice what we is not okay for Saddam Hussein to use chemical weapons upon people, but it okay for the U.S. It is okay for us to have nuclear weapons pointed at North Korea, but not okay for them to have the same. Of course, we believe that they have an insane person running their country...we certainly would never worry about that because we do not have those kind of eglomaniacs running our country....Eye-opening and told by an expert on Korea.

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder

This was such an amazing and impactful book for me. Kidder is an wonderful writer whose narrative is such a joy to follow.

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness is the story of Deo, a refugee to America from Burundi. We often hear of the genocide occuring in Rwanda...this is the same thing (Hutus vs. Tutsis). It is horrifying to read of what is going on in these countries and to realize that America has done so very little to help. Why are we not more aware? Is it because it is occurring in Africa in a country that does not have the oil we need?

It was also eye-opening to see what life was like in America as he came here with very little money or other resources. The account of his personal strength to overcome...going from being a homeless person sleeping to Central Park in NYC to graduating from medical school is inspirational. Then, even more amazing, is to witness his selflessness as he returns to his native Burundi to help build medical clinics 15 years after he fled. It was very moving to go with Deo to the places that he witnessed the most horrifying of events and share in a small way his shocking experiences.

I heartily recommend this book as one that others in America (especially) should read as we step outside of our comfortable world and into the reality of what life is for others who have not been blessed as we have. It is interesting to me to ponder whether we are creating, in America, the kind of society of Hutus and Tutsis where we would do horrifying things to each other simply because of the meaningless title that has been affixed to us.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

I loved this story of making the "impossible" happen! Another of the great themes is that of not prejudging people...getting to know people and finding their strengths. This is an important story for children and youth to read and internalize. Amazing thing happens as the children of Shora dare to dream the impossible and bring the entire village together as they never have been in order to make their dream come true.