Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body
By Martin Pistorius
Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoir, Special Needs
Last January I listened to an episode on Invisibilia called, “The Locked In Man.” I was so fascinated by the true story of Martin Pistorius that I immediately purchased this book on my Kindle and started reading. Martin’s body and mind began to shut down when he was 12 years old. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him and eventually he entered a time when he has no memories. Then one day, he woke up. At least his mind did. He could not control even the most basic functions like talking and spent years like that. Since he has written a book, I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that eventually he regained some functions.
This is a short but powerful and heart wrenching book about hope, despair, faith and what it means to be human. If you do nothing else, listen to the podcast episode I linked above!
If you do read the book be aware that some parts are difficult to read and not appropriate for children as they deal with abuse Martin experienced.
Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
By Katie Davis
Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoir, Africa, Christianity
I also heard about Katie Davis on a podcast, this time from her interview with Dave Ramsey, which you can listen to here. I was just blown away by her story of love and faith. Katie is younger than me, but I want to be like her one day.
When Katie was 18 years old she visited Uganda. The next summer she went back and never really came home. You see, Katie could hear God calling her to his work. Kisses from Katie follows her story as she figures out what it is that God wanted her to do in Uganda. Ultimately, it was to found an organization that sponsors the education of over 700 impoverished children, feeds 1,200 children daily and provides a vocational program to poor women so they can feed their own children and send them to school. Additionally, Katie has legally adopted 13 Ugandan children.
Her book is a powerful testament to what can happen when we follow God’s path for us without fear. Katie said, “People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people.”
You can visit her organization, Amazima Ministries, and learn more.
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
By Loung Ung
Non-Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Asia
Many of the books I read last year were difficult to read. This was one of the most difficult. Loung Ung was 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge forced her family out of their home in Phnom Penh and into the countryside. In the bloody civil war, genocide and starvation that followed about 2 out of every 7 Cambodians died. In this book Ung details how she survived and eventually escaped Cambodia. Read it with a box of tissues. And don’t try to read it on the train to work like I did. Stories like this one are important so we remember and never forget the horror that humans can inflict on one another and the power of the spirit to rise above horror.
I’m looking forward to the Netflix adaption of this book which will be directed by Angelina Jolie and is set to be released later this year.
Also, please check out Girl Rising, another project Loung Ung is involved in. She helped write some of the script for the film of the same name, Girl Rising. You can see the trailer and get involved here.