Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight to Walk

Scholastic Focus. Oct. 2019. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338356373.
Gr 4-8–Uwitonze, one of seven siblings, was born with clubfeet in a small village in Rwanda. She got around by crawling until she was seven years old. Eventually, she taught herself—with some help from her younger sister—how to walk on the tops of her feet. Walking was painful, slow, and would likely not be sustainable as she grew into adulthood. Through Africa New Life Ministries, an organization that enables donors to sponsor the education of Rwandan children, nine-year-old Uwitonze traveled to Texas to receive treatment for her feet. She lived with a host family, the Davises, for a year, undergoing multiple surgeries, 58 hospital visits, and 31 casts on her legs. Uwitonze, who navigated homesickness and daunting physical challenges, made tough decisions and persevered. Davis, the host mother, captures the child’s humor and resilience. A glossary with select words and sentences in Kinyarwanda, a national Bantu language spoken in Rwanda, is included. Readers interested in hearing Kinyarwanda spoken aloud can find a recording of Uwitonze reading the glossary at, a companion website to the book.
VERDICT Uwitonze’s story of strength and bravery will appeal to most middle grade readers.

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