by Haley F.
Newly inspired Blach 8th graders have decided to make a difference after reading a motivational novel in their book club. Students Haley F., Reilly K., Carolyn S., and Samantha H. are planning fundraisers, taking donations, and spreading the word about the nonfiction novel, The Garden of the Lost and Abandoned by Jessica Yu.
The book is about Gladys Kalibala and her efforts to protect children in poverty. The book takes place in Uganda where homeless children are common, and the government is so corrupt that many children are forced to run away because of the abuse in their homes.
Admirable Gladys finds these children from local police stations and from her friends who know of her organization. Once she finds these kids, she puts their pictures and their storys in her newspaper column to help them find their families. Unfortunately, many times, she is unsuccessful and ends up caring for the child herself. She was able to send many children to an amazing school, despite her low income.
After reading the novel, these students are unable to forget these problems across the globe. Recently they have contacted the author about their plans to give to her funds for Gladys. Enthused by this information, the author has given them signed copies of the book. In her email she said, “Next time I am headed up there I’ll let you know… it would be nice to have the chance to meet.”
Not only has Jessica expressed her gratitude in the form of signed books and a possible chance to meet, she has gone as far as telling Gladys about these girls.
These students could not be happier to know that someone they truly admire knows who they are and is appreciative of them. Even though they are enjoying their connection with the author, they all say, “We aren’t helping because [we] wanted signed books. We feel that there is no cause more worthy than Gladys’ Garden.”
Haley, Reilly, Carolyn, and Samantha would encourage everyone to donate, however, most importantly, they believe everyone needs to read the book. “After reading this book, you will be so touched that you have to do something to help,” they all agreed.