The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Riding the ripple from Houston to Ethiopia

One of my author friends just called me the Queen of the Ripple Effect.  I’m not sure how I got to be queen, but I like it.  In a couple of days, I’ll be riding the ripple south, riding a wave that–in some ways–started last year when I went to Houston on a visit organized by a parent who adopted a child from Ethiopia and had planted an Ethiopia Reads library in honor of her adopted son. 

Last year, in my blog, I wrote about the weird wonderfulness of that Houston visit and meeting an Ethiopian-American man who (we discovered) was one of my family’s neighbors in Addis Ababa, whose dog used to quarrel with my brother’s dog. 

Pretty amazing.

Memories reaching from Ethiopia to Houston.  Hands reaching from classrooms in Houston to classrooms in Ethiopia.  Kids in Ethiopia (in this school) reading books because of Jack and Debbie and their determination– and because my brother and I learned to read when we were kids in Ethiopia.


Something else happened at that Houston visit.  Bethlehem and her husband heard what I had to say about Ethiopia Reads libraries ( and decided they wanted to work with their son to plant a library in honor of their son’s 13th birthday–so that his step into adulthood could become a pledge toward what’s possible to do and change.  Bethlehem set up this week’s visit and invited my brother and me to come speak again.

Trace the ripple back even further.  A few years ago, my bro and I first traveled to Texas (to Dallas, not Houston) at the invitation of Kidmia, an Ethiopian-American group that had organized to make sure that kids growing up in Texas didn’t forget their Ethiopian heritage.  He and I talked about Ethiopia Reads there.  That’s where we first met Bethlehem.

(Okay…Chris and I might get just a little bit goofy when we’re together.)

We’ll be doing a booksigning at the Blue Willow Booksohp on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m.

We’ll be doing a signing at B&N Town and country on Friday, January 28, at 7 p.m.

All the Houston events…the signings and the speakings…are one more way of reaching out a hand to kids in Ethiopia who want books. 

I don’t know how much money Bethlehem will raise during the weekend.  I do know that Jack and Debbie started ripples of hope going for the kids in these pictures, and this weekend will nudge that ripple onward to another school, another batch of kids, another batch of dreams.

Ripple on.

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