Vanita Oelschlager, author
Mike Blanc, illustrator
I Came from Water (subtitled), One Haitian Boy’s Incredible Tale of Survival, is a story based on true events, told from the viewpoint of a surviving child. Moses was an infant when floods destroyed his hometown killing many people, including his entire family. Moses believes his grandmother was who tucked him into a basket and sent him afloat on the river. A priest and nun found him near the orphanage in Port-au-Prince. A nun at the orphanage named the infant in the basket Moses after the biblical infant Moses, who also floated down a river. The child was six when interviewed in 2010 by the author. When asked where he came from, Moses replied “I came from the water.”
The story is told in free verse using Moses’ voice. He describes the river as growing “big and angry. “ The river pulled in his family and himself. Moses was in a basket, floating down the river until found by “a deep voice, like my father’s. “ From that day forward, he has lived in the St. Helene Children’s Village outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Moses’ life is filled with the constant natural disasters that hit Haiti. In 2004, when an infant, floods took his family and home. In 2010 a hurricane hit Port-au-Prince and a wave of cholera struck, placing many under tents in a tent-city. Moses has never lost the happiness he feels and his optimism seems to grow with each passing day. He prides himself on being strong and able to help others and sees himself one day driving a “tap-tap,” taking people where they need to go.
The illustrations depict Moses’ life with detail. Houses flip upside down and people fly into the river. The orphanage is bright and cheery until another disaster strikes Haiti, then the art fractures again to represent the earthquake.I did not like the first picture of Father Rick, the pastor who ran the orphanage and school. It makes him look larger than life, and he probably was to Moses, yet I find it a bit much. The good priest is standing in his vestments, arms stretched out, filling the entire page. He looks huge standing above the alter and candle.
Moses is a model of resilience. Today he is eight-years-old and has seen more disasters that have hurt so many, he himself having lost his entire family, yet he loves his country of Haiti and he loves the people of Haiti. Moses displays unbelievable strength for such a young boy.
For an inside look at the book, three spreads, go HERE!
Vanita Oelschlager, author website Mike Blanc, illustrator website Vanita Books, publisher website Released September 1, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-9832904-4-5 40 Pages Ages 4 and up ..................... Copyright ©2012 by Vanita Books Text: Copyright ©2011 by Vanita Oelschlager Illustration: Copyright © 2011 by Mike Blanc