Category Archives: Africa

The Power of a Library


I read THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND thinking it would be a story of inventory and innovation. It was. But it also was much more.
William Kamkwamba grew up in a very poor, but loving, family and village in Malawi. I could picture him walking along the dusty roads, trying to find enough money to attend school.
But he has to drop out and spends years working and studying on his own, hanging on to the dream that, one day, he will be able to return to class.
Meanwhile he hangs out in a tiny local library, with books donated by the USA. Not only is this William’s story, to me it also is the story of the amazing impact books can have on a person’s life.

If William had not had access to books and a kind librarian, he might never have achieved what he did: to invent a wind mill, to build batteries, to create power for his home and village and to be ‘discovered’ by scientists and the technology community that brought worldwide attention to this young man.
He deserves all of the credit, but so does the library, the librarian and the people who donated the books.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is available as a nonfiction novel, a picture book and now also as a major motion picture.

The Elephant Keeper

I am happy to share a new book with you that has been long in the making.

In 2014 I was lucky enough to travel to Zambia. There, I visited an elephant orphanage and learned much about how hard people work to help save an endangered species.

Elephants are in danger of illegal poaching. Because there are still countries in the world where people wants trinkets made from ivory, there are still poachers willing to kill these majestic animals.

When a mother elephant is killed, usually for her tusks, her baby elephant is left to die. Without her nursing and nurturing, the infant is not able to care for itself yet. In Zambia, Game Rangers International has trained staff that will rescue and transport the baby elephant.

The staff at Lilayi Elephant Orphanage have developed a milk formula and other pertinent care that gives the orphaned elephant a fighting chance.

Zambezi came to the orphanage at a young age after he was founded nearly drowning in a resort’s pool near the Zambezi River in southern Zambia.

Aaron is the caretaker who was offered a job after rescuing Zambezi. To him, elephants had been the enemy that destroys crops in his village. But Aaron learned to care for elephants, to respect and to love them. Now he is a valuable caretaker who spends most of his waking hours with his little charges.

The elephants live in the protected forest and compound near Lusaka, until they are old enough to be released into the wild. They learn to forage and to act as elephants and form new family bonds with other orphaned elephants. They will live out their lives in the protected woods of
 Kafue National Park.
Find out how you can help – not only by making sure you never buy anything made from ivory, but also by “adopting” a baby elephant. The $65.- US will pay for the elephant’ food, milk, medicine and upkeep. What better gift for a child’s birthday or a friend’s Christmas gift than a baby elephant! You will receive photos and regular email updates!
KIDS CAN PRESS/Citizen Kid Series
978-1-77138-561-9 | Oct 3, 2017
List Price: USD $18.99, CAD $19.99
4-color  8 x 10 48 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12

“A moving and unforgettable true story …”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, August 2017
“… Ruurs’s narrative builds a strong emotional connection between readers and the subject—this is a tale designed to pull at the heartstrings of readers.”
— School Library Journal, September 2017