From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6–When Ryan Hreljac's first-grade teacher told his class about countries where people did not have access to clean drinking water, the boy became determined to change things. This account follows his efforts from what began as one child committed to building one well, and grew over several years into an international network of fundraising, educating, and well-drilling that extended far beyond anyone's expectations. Ryan's endeavors also brought him into contact with Akana Jimmy, a youngster from Agweo Village, Uganda, the location of the first well. In 2000, Ryan went to Uganda, and the two boys met for the first time. Through their friendship and correspondence, readers will gain insight into a world in which children face unimaginable hardships. In the fall of 2002, rebel forces abducted Jimmy, and though he escaped, his life was placed in great danger. The narrative then details the Hreljacs' laborious but successful efforts to bring him to Canada. Clearly written and illustrated with full-color family photographs set against colorful backgrounds, this story is both personal and representative of the many people living in developing countries, the individuals working against all odds to help them, and the power of young people to make a difference. A great choice for booktalking or small-group sharing and discussion, with many possible connections, from social and economic to geographic and political.–Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
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A truly inspirational story, this book can effectively teach about problems and solutions.
Ryan and Jimmy is a true story of friendship and compassion in which a simple wish to help others brings focus to the necessities that unite us all.