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When Invisible Children Sing 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1414306162
ISBN-10: 1414306164
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Do you see our invisible children?" writes Huang, at the conclusion of his touching and sometimes painful book about the street children of La Paz, Bolivia. Huang, the founder of the Bolivian Street Children Project and an attending physician at Boston Medical Center, went to Bolivia to work with homeless children when he was fresh out of Harvard medical school. Looking to fulfill a sense of Christian mission as well as to come to grips with some of his personal history, he committed to spending a year caring for homeless children in an orphanage. His ministry quickly expanded from daytime medical care at the orphanage to nighttime care for the children on the streets of La Paz, and it is these later stories that Huang tells. He gives only enough of his own story to let the reader understand his lens, but it is the children's stories Huang cares about. Told simply and without exaggeration, each child's account speaks for itself, demonstrating the humanity of those who are usually invisible. Always honest about his own anger, frustration, confusion and even his doubts about God at times, Huang inspires readers to reach out, even to just one child, and make a difference in a life. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Pediatrician and internist Huang is a self-described angry man who traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, to work in the streets as a fourth-year Harvard medical student in 1997. He wanted to do something about the thousands of Bolivian children who live in filth, disease, and squalor. He learned, among other things, that street children are far from innocent. But that doesn't begin to justify, he says, their unspeakable living conditions. Indeed, the stories he tells range from the appalling--a street infant starved to death in a hospital because it was up to her mother to provide food; when she failed to do so, hospital staff watched the baby die--to the sickening: 89 percent of street children, including those as young as four, inhale paint thinner to stay warm through the frigid Andean nights. And worse: vigilantes rape, beat, and even kill street children to "cleanse" the streets. Huang's powerful testimony sounds a clarion call and ends with a plea for support for his Bolivian Street Children Project. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: SaltRiver; 1 edition (September 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414306164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414306162
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susan J. Metoxen on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is interesting on several levels. First, it tells the fascinating story of Dr. Huang and his work with the street children of Bolivia. His approach of focusing on the stories of several children makes it very easy for the reader to connect with and understand the children.

In addition, the book really explains generational and intractable poverty and the forces that keep it in place. I suspect similar forces are in place in all settings, even in a country as wealthy as the United States. Moreover, he describes his own childhood living with a family recently immigranted from Taiwan and his family's experience with the health care system in the U.S. It is a must read for employees in social service settings.

Last, because he is an physician, he describes in detail the medical and mental health issues faced by the children, and I would recommend this book to be required curriculum for anyone planning to do medical mission work. (Or work with the homeless in the U.S. for that matter.)
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Chi writes an exceptionally transparent account of his own spiritual journey and personal passion for helping "the least of these". He wrestles with doubt and anger, painfully discovers the limits of compassion, and ultimately develops a successful strategy to rescue a handful of the hundreds of abandoned children from the otherwise hopeless streets of La Paz, Bolivia.

This book is a quick read, but opens one's eyes to the humanity of children and adults living on the streets--whether at home or at thirteen thousand feet in the high desert of the Andes. Neither liberal nor conservative, neither utopian nor cynical; the author offers a balanced view of reality on the streets of Bolivia's capital city without the burden of a philosophical agenda. His insights have value in understanding the plight of abandoned children around the world, and hints at potential solutions which offer hope for children like those described so eloquently in Dr. Chi's text.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You’ll need a box of Kleenex by your side while reading this book, it’s heart wrenching. Dr. Huang introduces readers to the life of street children living in Bolivia without holding anything back. His honest portrayal of the harsh realities of their lives is a call to action for anyone claiming to follow Christ. He shares the story of several children, giving readers an up close and personal perspective of what they face everyday.

“Every month or two, they round up a bunch of street kids to take to dark places. If we resist, they beat us and spray gasoline in our eyes…..They are ‘cleaning’ the streets of all undesirables, and that includes us.”

You’ll meet Daniela, a teen mother of two babies, one of whom dies in a hospital because she didn’t have money to pay for food or medication. Can you imagine hospital staff watching a baby die of dehydration and doing nothing because the mother couldn’t provide food and money? This is the reality Daniela must deal with, along with rapes, beatings and the hopelessness of a world that considers her expendable.

If you’re ready to open your eyes to the plight of the most vulnerable in our world, this is the book to do it! Highly recommend this for teens who have never journeyed from the safety and security of the United States!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since this book mainly focuses conditions during the '90s, a more current book would be great. How much has life changed for the street children of this area in Bolivia? The author speaks of his struggle to understand these conditions relative to his faith. Did these experiences strengthen his faith? I would not recommend this book to children under the age of 16. Really enjoyed learning more about the "invisible child."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chi Cheng Huang speaks openly of his personal struggle and grasping of a world-wide problem in Bolivia, Street Children. A way of life for generations, the poorest of the poor have an economy of survival and then medical student Huang, both with courage and trepidation, loves and helps one child at a time. The realities of the street, the sewer-living, the purposeful addictions, are uncovered with a most precious heart of love.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really wanted to like this book and was quite excited about reading it when I read the cover. I thought it might be similar to my own experiences working with street children in the Philippines. In that respect there were a lot of similarities and a lot of shared mistakes and learning from them in the same way.

The author gets off to a good start talking a bit about himself and his Christian faith. He doesn't go far enough really but at least he mentions that he is a Christian and a bit about that. He describes arriving in Bolivia with no idea what to expect and is extremely naive from the outset; venturing into dangerous areas without realising it to track down the elusive "street children." Many of these children are addicted to "thinner" sniffing. Which again is what I dealt with in the Philippines with the "rugby boys." The author takes a different approach in that he just accepts this as part of their lives and doesn't attempt to stop them doing this in his presence. It is hard for me to understand how this decision alone didn't drive him to despair. Watching the children "sniffing" day in and day out whilst trying to build friendships with them must have been intolerable and not placing any types of boundaries on acceptable behaviour whilst in the author's presence apart from the occasional comment doesn't bear thinking about. Indeed the author frequently refers to emotional outbursts of grief after dealing with the various situations.

Maybe this is why the author seems to struggle with his faith throughout the book. He went to Bolivia to help as a trainee doctor but also as a Christian Missionary. But he became overwhelmed with the scale of the problem and the numbers of people needing help.
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