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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Through her eyes, the moving story of a young Rwandan girl born with clubfeet and the risk she takes for the chance to walk on the bottoms of her feet for the first time. Rebeka Uwitonze was born in Rwanda with curled and twisted feet, which meant she had to crawl or be carried to get around. At nine years old, she gets an offer that could change her life. A doctor in the US might be able to turn her feet. But it means leaving her own family behind and going to America on her own. Her Own Two Feet tells Rebeka's inspiring story through her eyes, with the help of one of her hosts. She travels from Rwanda to Austin, Texas, to join the Davis family, despite knowing almost no English. In the face of dozens of hospital visits and painful surgeries, Rebeka's incredible bravery and joyful spirit carry her to the opportunity of a lifetime. A stunning debut about hope, perseverance, and what becomes possible when you take a risk.…

Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight to Walk

by Meredith Davis and Rebeka Uwitonze

Overall Book Review:

This non-fiction book begins in Rwanda and tells the story of a girl named Rebeka who was born with arthrogryposis which affected her legs and arms. This book is rich with detail of colors, smells, feelings, and experiences. It is full of stories along her journey of learning to walk including traveling to a new country, learning a new language and culture, going through several medical procedures and surgeries, gaining physical strength, and returning to her own country with accompanying transitions.

Written from the perspective of Rebeka, this is a story of identity, change, overcoming obstacles, and taking advantage of opportunities as “chance comes once”. The reader is drawn into Rebeka’s world–whether she is in Rwanda or in Texas. The text is simple to understand and conveys Rebeka’s bravery and strength.

This book is co-written by Rebeka–the Rwandan girl herself –and Meredith – the American host who took care of Rebeka in the United States. This is a book for individuals interested in medical procedures, organizations that help countries such as Rwanda, or those who like stories about overcoming the odds and the underdog.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: None

Violence/Gore:  Threat of wild dogs; pain from medical procedures – twisting feet, casting, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.; reference to a dead goat with bones picked clean; verbal name calling and superstitions that disabilities were a curse; in the author’s note reference to genocide where 1 million people were killed in 100 days.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Separation from parents; multiple surgeries and associated pain.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My favorite books are ones that change me and my perceptions of the world in a significant way. My favorite genre is probably historical fiction with biographies as a close second.