Review of Little Princes, by Conor Grennan

Little Princes

One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

by Conor Grennan

read by the author

Books on Tape, 2010. 8 CDs.
Starred Review

I was happy when I learned that Little Princes is the 2011 choice for All Fairfax Reads. I was captivated by the audiobook version and found myself listening as eagerly as to a novel.

I do like that the author doesn’t try to glamorize what he set out to do. He freely admits that he was planning to spend a year traveling around the world, and he decided to volunteer to help at an orphanage in Nepal to make himself sound less selfish. He didn’t know anything about taking care of children. When he meets them, they literally pile on top of him, and from there, you can hear in his voice how the children win him over.

I especially enjoyed hearing the author tell the story himself. That way, you know the names are being pronounced correctly, for one thing! He tells how he didn’t have the heart to tell the children he would never come back, and so a promise to them got him to return. Then he found out that these “orphans” were not actually orphans. That child traffickers told families in remote villages that for a steep fee they would protect their children from being conscripted as soldiers and give them an education and opportunities. Instead, the children are sold or abandoned in Kathmandu.

It began with seven children that Conor and his co-worker almost rescued. When they learned that those children had been lost, he had to come back to Nepal to try to find them. And along the way, he began a mission to find the children’s families.

The story is beautiful and compelling. Above all, it’s about bringing hope and joy to children, children who are like any other children in the world, playful and loving and deserving of a wonderful future.

I enjoyed the audiobook very much, but I did check out a copy of the print version in order to see pictures of the children, whom I felt I had come to know. A map in the front is also helpful.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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