Book Review: When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read by Pamela Bitterman

Book Details:

File Size: 4308 KB
Print Length: 38 pages
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Book Summary:

No one knows the story of Kenya better than the children who live it. I had the opportunity to travel to this country and become immersed with the families there. The result is a 1500-word nonfiction picture book titled, When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read: A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan. This true story of one little boy is told in his own words. While there are many books about Africa on the market, none are told from a child’s point of view like this one.

The children from the village created the book’s illustrations. I asked these students to draw what represented family, love, happiness, sadness, fear and hope for them. I have powerful photographs of the children, the school, the village and the countryside, the hospital, the mobile clinic and orphan program. It is this truth that is certain to nudge the hearts and minds of parents, teachers and children everywhere.

About the Author:

Pamela Bitterman is a sixty-one year old strong, confident, healthy perpetually questioning leap-of-faith taking married woman and mother of two terrific grown children. She has lived and continues to live her life with great heart and gusto. Pam has worn many hats: a Counselor for disturbed children, a Resident Naturalist for a nature and wildlife preserve, a Teacher, a Mediator, a circumnavigating tall ship Boatswain and First Mate holding a Merchant Seaman’s ticket, a world traveler, a writer, published author, wife, mother and beyond.

Pamela Bitterman’s other books include:

Sailing To the Far Horizon; The Restless Journey and Tragic Sinking of a Tall Ship
Muzungu; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check
Child, You Are Miracle

For more information about the author go to:  http://

Book Review:

It’s hard to find someone who has visited Africa who hasn’t come back changed. Lots of books have been written about such transformational experiences, but it’s rare to find one this original in its conception, so well written, and beautifully illustrated by African children themselves.

When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read was created by Pamela Bitterman, based on her travels to a Kenyan orphanage. The story, photographs, and illustrations within the book come directly from her personal encounters with two orphan boys–Julius and Hezron. Like most African children, these young boys desperately want to go to school and learn to read, but first they must undergo medical treatment. The boys have a condition called jiggers—parasitic insects which nest under human skin and begin to lay eggs.

In terms of the digital book layout, an enhanced fixed layout graphic design might seem a better display choice on first blush, but what makes this book and story so powerful is the simplicity of its beautiful message—knowledge is power. Education doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be possible. In this context, the raw photographs and other illustrated images are better suited in their original, uncomplicated state. An overproduced glossy design would seem counterintuitive to the story.

It’s easy to forget how blessed our lives are until you read a story like When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read. This book proves you don’t have to travel around the world to realize how good you have it, or how we can all help ease the plight of those less fortunate by the minor gesture of buying a book and sharing the story of Julius and Hezron with others. By the way, all sales from the book are donated to the Kenyan orphanage Bitterman references in the story.

Ostensibly a children’s book, When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read is an important read for everyone of all ages. You’ll get a sense of the story’s import immediately from the excellent cover design, but you may be surprised how the images will captivate your heart. The title is essentially a mantra for all African children, or really any child who hopes and dreams of a better life.

This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.


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