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Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You Hardcover – February 16, 2006


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Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You + Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–The patient encouragement of the author to help her adopted daughter, Jeanne d'Arc Umubyeyi, come to terms with her memories provides the frame for this account of genocide in Rwanda in 1994. When Jeanne was eight, Hutu neighbors massacred her family and destroyed her home; she witnessed the murder of her mother and brother, as well as other Tutsis, strangers and family friends. Beautifully crafted and smoothly translated, this searing novel is all the more remarkable for the sense of place it conveys through vividly remembered details of an African world where the mundane experiences of daily life were cataclysmically interrupted by a few months of unimaginable violence. Jeanne's courage, will to live, and understandable anger come through clearly, leading readers to wonder how a person or a country can ever recover from such events. The young woman's adoptive mother's childhood memories, mentioned in one of the chapter introductions, make explicit the connection between Rwanda and Germany. The title, taken from a story Jeanne's grandmother told, also reminds readers of the importance of human connections and continued trust. Painful to read, but unforgettable, this book will provoke thought and discussion.–Kathleen Isaacs, Towson University, MD
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. Eight-year-old Jeanne was the only one of her family to survive the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Then a German family adopted her, and her adoptive mother now tells Jeanne's story in a compelling fictionalized biography that stays true to the traumatized child's bewildered viewpoint. Jeanne is witness to unspeakable horror, but the tragedy isn't exploited in her narrative. Nor is Jeanne sentimental about the world she loses: she feels jealous of her sister and distant from her father, and she takes her comfortable Tutsi Catholic home in Kibungo for granted. Readers unfamiliar with the history may be somewhat bewildered. Who are the Tutsis? Who are the Hutus? Why were almost a million people massacred? But that confusion is part of the story. An appended time line fills in some of the facts, but of course, there's no explanation. Woven into the child's story are brief, contemporary commentaries, set in italics, by the Jeanne's German mother, who speaks to her child about loss, fury, survivor guilt, and healing. Occasionally, the narrative is too detailed, especially about daily life before the massacre, but Crawford's translation from the German is always clear and eloquent. An elemental account of perpetrators, victims, and bystanders ("And the world looked on. Or looked away"), this book is an important addition to the Holocaust curriculum. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books; Tra edition (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575059274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575059273
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
OVER A THOUSAND HILLS I WALK WITH YOU is the horrifying novel that is based on a true story about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This was a subject that I didn't know too much about until I read this book, which made me realize how horrible events such as this one are still happening in today's society. How we could let this happen is beyond me.

The book is written by the adoptive mother of Jeanne to tell the story that is often called the modern day Holocaust. As with the original Holocaust, many children were left to fight for themselves and try and find a new way to survive. Jeanne's family is killed and she is left to fend for herself, and the book is about how she achieves that.

When you read this book you aren't on the basic level of thinking. You are much beyond that. The imagery in this book is not good, because in no way do you want this to happen to anyone, but at the same time it's very real. I felt as if I were standing the fields and forests and homes of these people and was surrounded by people fighting for their lives.

Reviewed by: Taylor Rector
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By blbooks on August 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Hanna Jansen's OVER A THOUSAND HILLS I WALK WITH YOU is a touching tribute to her adopted daughter who was orphaned in the Rwandan war. Based on her daughter's recollections of her childhood--memories both pleasant and bittersweet--Jansen weaves a tale of sorrow, hope, fear, joy, and love. For example, the early chapters of the book feature a young girl living life large. She is visiting her grandmother. She's playing with her cousins. She's fighting with her sister and brother. Her mom works outside the home, her dad is away a lot...and she has an incredibly whiny sister that she struggles with on a daily basis. She's vibrant and unaware that her world would change in just a few short years. Later chapters reveal the pain, the loss, the confusion, the fear of not knowing if one is going to survive another day. Witnessing such atrocities as seeing your parents and siblings killed by strange soldiers. Seeking help from family friends, yet being turned away because they don't want to risk dying too. Her survival story is inspiring.

The story is beautifully told, Jansen has done a great job here. Her book is definitely worth reading.
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By Jane W-H on September 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a deeply affecting and important book about the bewildering phenomenon of the Rwandan genocide - how six months during 1994 devastated and changed forever this part of Africa. It is sensitively written, told from the point of view of Jeanne, an eight-year-old survivor. I shall ponder the wisdom within it for months to come.
I have a criticism about the quality of the writing but cannot say whether the problem is in the translation. Perhaps the author, Hanna Jansen, is not a natural writer but even so the translator might have done a better job and used fewer word repetitions. I found her American voice palled at times too. I liked the chapter intros each of which were short scenes in Jeanne's adoptive home in Germany. This showed how healing was taking place, although I found the end where Hanna Jansen, the author and adoptive German mother, claimed to completely share and understand what Jeanne had been through. Sorry but no - you cannot possibly!
Nevertheless it is a powerful story which deserves wide readership.
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