Review Blog

Mar 15 2008

Ana's story, a journey of hope by Jenna Bush

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Harper Collins, 2007
(Age 12+) The subtitle of this colourfully produced book tells it all, then when you read it is by Jenna Bush based on her work with UNICEF, you know that you are in for a sentimental story of the life of one of the girls Jenna Bush met when working in Africa with AIDS affected children. Although it is sentimental and openly aimed at gaining the readers' sympathies, it does give a lot of information about AIDS and AIDS in Africa and the lives of some of the people affected by this disease and the political pulls which affect their progress.

Ana was born with AIDS, passed on by her mother who died within a few years. Her story is one of courage as she develops strategies to live with the disease and its consequences. When students have read novels like Chandra's secrets by Allan Stratton or The heaven shop by Deborah Ellis, then they have been well informed about the disease and the prejudice which meets people so affected. This book will add to their knowledge. Some of it is mawkishly written, and purple prose abounds, but I know lots of girls will find it absolutely charming. And the photos are stunning, showing life worlds apart from our students. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book go to UNICEF and there is a website that students can access.
Fran Knight

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