This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite
A Calf Named Brian Higgins: An Adventure in Rural Kenya by Kristen Ball is the story of American teenager Hannah Higgins who accompanies her mom on a three-week trip to Kenya. Their goal is to help Hannah's Uncle Brian with his work in Sauri, a small rural village located on the western edge of Kenya. The story is about evolving family relationships and Hannah's growth as she adapts to a different culture, but the plot really serves to provide a skeleton for the true meat of the novel, which is a richly drawn picture of daily life in rural Kenya. Hannah's reactions are very believable as she experiences a world where tap water might or might not turn on, cell phone apps don't work and there is no corner store. She learns about the fragility of life in a place where tragic accidents happen because of insufficient roads, and whether or not a person dies from malaria depends on whether or not the clinic has medicine that day.
A Calf Named Brian Higgins is a very moving story. It caught my eye because I visited Kenya years ago, and the vivid descriptions brought back many memories. The work is fiction, but the events have a true-to-life feel because many of them are based on the experiences of the author, Kristen Ball, who did a top-notch job of adapting her observations and experiences into a novel. The most meaningful theme for me was the message Hannah hears: people help each other by taking only what they need, nothing more. The word “poverty” doesn't seem adequate to describe the lack of resources here – school lunch is prepared and served by the children, who eat it with their hands, three kids to a bowl. Yet the people enjoy a richness in a community that the more developed world can barely imagine. I wish every American teenager had an opportunity to experience life in a place like Sauri, but if not, I wish they would read this book.