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Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal [Kindle Edition]

Conor Grennan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (460 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“Funny, touching, tragic….A remarkable tale of corruption, child trafficking and civil war in a far away land—and one man’s extraordinary quest to reunite lost Nepalese children with their parents.”
—Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

Little Princes is the epic story of Conor Grennan’s battle to save the lost children of Nepal and how he found himself in the process. Part Three Cups of Tea, part Into Thin Air, Grennan’s remarkable memoir is at once gripping and inspirational, and it carries us deep into an exotic world that most readers know little about.

Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
In search of adventure, 29-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.

Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.

An Amazon Exclusive Essay by Conor Grennan

How Taking Notes and Living without Indoor Plumbing Would Change My Life

When I was living in Nepal, I kept a notebook with me at all times. It was a small Nepali-made notebook—the brand name was Happy Days! or some such thing— and it made me smile every time I looked at it. I took it everywhere I went, and wrote in it often.

The children constantly asked me what I was writing, and I would tell them I was recording our conversations. That was true, but it was more than that. I was also recording everything I found strange in my new home. Like the fact that the kids chewed on chicken bones until they were practically dust, or that one of the boys, Santosh, had a digital watch which he’d borrowed from a friend that, along with displaying the hour, flashed “I Love You!” once per second.

There were times I was caught without my notebook, like in the middle of a soccer game when Dawa’s shot—destined for just inside the invisible right post—was blocked by the broadside of a cow, and I had to try to recall from memory the captivating debate over the role of livestock in team sports, and whether or not the goal should count. (It didn’t.)

Then, when the children would go to bed at 8 p.m., I would bundle up in two or three fleeces, a hat, and woolen gloves I had cut the fingers out of; I’d pull out my notebook and I’d sit down to write my travel blog, copying everything I had put into the notebook over the course of the day into an old, ultra-light Dell I’d bought off eBay for about 200 dollars. It was pretty much useless except as a word processor, but it was the most precious thing I owned. Over the next three years, traveling the globe and living in Nepal, I would end up typing just over half-a-million words on that little workhorse—five times the length of Little Princes.

It turned out that writing everything down in the moment was critical because the more time I spent in Nepal, the more normal these “strange” things became. It became normal to watch my blankets being made from scratch on the ground outside my house, to trade broken flip-flops for potatoes, and to use outhouses on a daily basis without thinking twice about it. (Did you hear that, people? Outhouses!)

The funny thing is, with all that note-taking, I never had any intention of writing a book about my time in Nepal. It honestly never occurred to me that it was a much of a story until someone else mentioned the idea to me.

Once I started writing the book, however, I couldn’t stop. I went back to my old notebooks and I was suddenly in Nepal again, hearing in my mind exactly how Hriteek had laughed, or Nishal had protested, or Raju had squealed as he’d run through the house, bare feet padding against the cold cement floors.

Little Princes, the book, allowed me to revisit that wonderful, difficult, challenging, happy time of my life. I still get back to Nepal, of course, and I still see the children. But they change, they grow up. Writing Little Princes allowed me to visit the children as they were. And also, as the person I was.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Grennan, who once worked at the East West Institute in Prague, embarked on a round-the-world trip in 2006, starting with a stint volunteering for an orphanage six miles south of Kathmandu. The orphanage, called the Little Princes Children's Home, housed 18 children from the remote province of Humla, rescued from a notorious child trafficker who had bought the children from poor villagers terrified of the Maoist insurgents eager for new recruits; the parents hoped to keep their children safe, but the children often ended up as slaves. Grennan was stunned by the trauma endured by these children, who he grew to love over two months, and after completing his world tour, returned to the orphanage and vowed not only to locate seven Humla orphans who had vanished from a foster home, but also to find the parents of the children in the orphanage. This required starting up a nonprofit organization in America, Next Generation Nepal, raising funds, buying a house in Kathmandu for the children's home, and trekking into the mountains of Humla to locate the parents. Grennan's work is by turns self-pokingly humorous, exciting, and inspiring. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1313 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (January 25, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004DI7M38
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everybody's mother cried." November 10, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Imagine the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of people displaced and in danger. Families separated and unsure where to go or what to do. A government in chaos, unable (at least initially) to be of any assistance. Then imagine that this chaos had lasted an ENTIRE decade. That some of these families were so poor and so desperate to keep their children safe, that they sold just about every possession they owned in order to PAY to try and keep their children from being conscripted into a rebel army that had formed in opposition to the government. Then imagine that, far from being the safe haven they had imagined, these families never heard from their beloved children again. As days turned into weeks, then into months that turned into years, they realized their children had just disappeared.

This is the situation in Nepal. From 1996-2006, Nepal suffered through a horrible civil war between the monarchy and Maoist rebels. The country was torn apart. Elementary-aged children were abducted by the rebels to serve in any capacity. And of course, as is so often the case, an even darker force came into play. Using fear as their weapon, child traffickers took thousands of children to "safety" - taking enormous sums of money and then turning around and either abandoning them hundreds of miles from home, or using them to make more money in donations that they pocketed while the children lived in squalor.

Little Princes is the story of one man who went to Nepal to volunteer for 3 months because he thought it would sound impressive. Conor Grennan decided he was going to take a year off and travel the world, using the volunteer time to make it sound better to his friends and family.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Transformational Journey! January 25, 2011
Conor Grennan's Little Princes' offers one of those rare reading experiences that are all of joyful, gripping and transformative. The story is a serious one - about one man's decision to set aside his own self interest to serve an incredibly sympathetic and needy group of people in a region to which he - at first - has little personal connection. Remarkably, Grennant tells his story of his personal transformation and his quest to help these people in a relatively light and genuinelyvery funny way. Grennan's writing moves at a fast pace - making it difficult to put down and exciting to resume. I would predict that reading this book will span more than a weekend for most! Moreover, as he narrates the story of his quest to reunite the vulnerable children with their parents, Grennan touches on themes of self-interest verses the interest of others who are far more needy, the touching and inspiring resolve of people who survive with so little advantage, and through the account of Grennan's interaction with the children's parents- the importance (and challenge) of honoring others who have so little by Western standards but yet show such amazing humility, dignity and strength.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this book is that as a true story, the reader can continue to engage with the infectiously optimistic cast of characters by following the progress of the real life non-profit - Next Generation Nepal - that Grennan and others went on to build. Our sadness about the childrens' plight and their families poverty is greatly assuaged by the hope and excitement of Next Generation Nepal's continued progress. Overall, "Little Princes" is a fantastic read - and a story that you will think about for months even years to come...
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful What you Promise October 31, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I ordered this book for several reasons:
1. Nepal is a part of the world of which I am woefully ignorant.
2. The use and abuse of children is a problem about which I know too much
3. I am a sucker for the underdog

After reading it, I can say that I learned a lot about Nepal and child trafficking, my spirit was recharged despite expanded awareness of the reality of life, and my guy won. Conor Grennan's life is in flux so to find some adventure in a way that does not appear to be entirely self-serving, he volunteers for 3 months at children's home in Kathmandu. What he learns about the children (all who were victims of a lucrative trafficking scheme) and himself reshapes his perspective on life. After completing his world trip, he returned to the Little Prince's home with the goal of reconnecting the families. In spite of the bureaucratic, political, cultural, physical, climatic and emotional barriers, he succeeds. This is a well told story about the sacrifices parents make to provide a better life for their children, the strong bond between a child and his parent and the truth that making the world peaceful is the responsibility of every individual. Informative, honest and critical in a way that seeks to nurture rather than destroy, "Little Princes" challenges the reader to examine their own values, set aside judgment and take some action to become and advocate for the vulnerable people that cross their paths.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opening Window To Nepal February 22, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When Irish American Conor Grennan decides to take a whirlwind year-long trip around the world, he opts to spend his first three months volunteering at a children's orphanage in Nepal. The instant he walked through the gates of Little Princes, he was mobbed by laughing little boys attaching themselves to his legs like leeches hungry for blood. Running, playing, giggling children swarmed Conor from the moment he arrived, so ecstatic to have a foreigner visiting them. For Conor it was love at first sight, although he was a bit terrified. Never had he spent time with children, never mind work with them for three months.

After settling in and getting to know the children of Little Princes, the facility high in the Nepali Himalayas, Conor finds he loves Nepal and all the hazards, poverty, and trials that come with it. In 2004 when he steps off the plane from America, a Maoist civil war is raging around him. Nepali villagers are hungry and starvation is a large problem. Winters are harsh in the Himalayas, the cold freezing climate hardens the people of Nepal as they eek out a meager existence and the food shortages of winter. However, impoverished people, little heat, border patrols, and starving children, still doesn't put Conor off. For the next few months he digs in to help the facility and works with these charming love-starved kids with great enthusiasm. Rice bowl after rice bowl, Conor finds he has found his life's calling.

Weeks into his assignment, through various sources, Conor learns that the kids of Little Princes are not really orphans. Shockingly the staff learns that these children were stolen. Child trafficking runs rampant in Nepal, thousands of children have been taken from their families.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
One of the best books I ever read! Prepare yourself to cry a think better about your life and what you have around you
Published 1 day ago by R
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Anyone with a Heart for the Plight of Orphans in this...
I have visited Nepal and ministered in orphanages. Connor's book is right on!
Published 12 days ago by Scott M. Denison
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Journey
Little Princes describes the journey of a selfish man changing the lives of many strangers and himself. After reading the book, I was surprised by not only what Mr. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Little Princes is a book full of adventures and hope. Conor Grennen writes in this book about his decision to travel across the world and volunteer at the Little Princes orphanage. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amelia
4.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing.
If you are into true life changing stories, this book is definitely for you. My overall reaction to the book Little Princes is it is a great book but not my all-time favorite. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Diana Magallanes
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Princes
We have recently read this book for our English class and thought it was a very good book that we recommend everyone read. We have learned a lot about Nepal and child trafficking. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Chelsie
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall it was written nicely; the only difficult part was seeing when...
In Little Princes I felt shock/surprising that an American wanted to go to Nepal and explore. The book is adventurous and emotional. Read more
Published 18 days ago by montisa
5.0 out of 5 stars We have never liked the thought of being forced to read something if...
My friend and I recently read this book for an assignment in our English class. We have never liked the thought of being forced to read something if it wasn't our idea, but this... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Zechariah A Maynard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I was very pleased since it was a gift for our Sisters in ministry in devastated Nepal.
Published 19 days ago by Maria V. Brocato
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't want to put it down!!!
Gripping true story...laughed, cried, and was in awe of the difference one person can make in the lives of so many others. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Happy Shopper
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More About the Author

Conor Grennan, author of the memoir Little Princes spent eight years at the EastWest Institute (EWI), both in Prague and the EU Office in Brussels, where he served as Deputy Director for the Security and Governance Program.

At EWI, Conor developed and managed a wide variety of projects focusing on issues such as peace and reconciliation in the Balkans, community development in Central Eastern Europe, and harmonizing anti-trafficking policy at the highest levels government in the European Union and the former Yugoslavia.

Conor left EWI in 2004 to travel the world and volunteer in Nepal. He would eventually return to Nepal and found Next Generation Nepal, an organization dedicated to reconnecting trafficked children with their families and combating the root causes of child trafficking in rural villages in Nepal. He was based in the capital of Kathmandu until September 2007 where he was the Executive Director of Next Generation Nepal.

To Donate to NGN, visit

Conor now serves on the Board of Next Generation Nepal, together with his wife Liz. He is a 2010 graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business, where he was the President of the Student Body. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and son, Finn, and a soon-to-be baby girl.

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