December 9, 2013

Emma and the African Wishing Bead

This book makes me so happy. And I had fun photographing it in front of my Christmas tree. Aside from the great story, there's something about oceans and tropical looking images at Christmastime that really reminds me of Christmas in Hawaii, which I actually miss sometimes, even though when I lived there, I used to wish I lived someplace cold and wintery.


Valerie Redmond, the author of 'Emma and the African Wishing Bead', sent me a copy of her beautiful book to review. And she sent a real wishing bead necklace, which Julia thought was the coolest thing ever. Miss Valerie also shared with me a bit about the story she wrote.....

"It is about two girls, separated by an ocean but united in their dreams.  It is about the beauty we all have to offer the world when we follow our passions.  I was inspired to write this book after a year I spent working with women and girls in Kenya.  Half of the profits of the book go to an NGO which provides secondary school scholarships to girls in Kenya and Tanzania.  I believe girls in the developing world are the greatest untapped solution to poverty.  The book has received some great press from (Nike Foundation).

Kids can go to my website ( to learn how to make their own 'wishing beads'.  I also have wishing beads for sale, handmade at the Kazuri Bead Factory in Kenya (a member of the Fair Trade Act)."
The story describes how Kioni, a little girl in Africa, finds a wishing bead one day and learns more about it from her grandmother:

"A wishing bead is a magical bead.....if you find one or if someone gives one to you, you must put it on a string. Then you must sit in a quiet spot and think of all the things you are thankful for. For each thing you are thankful for, you tie a knot in the string. You must tie many knots to secure your bead. Then you make a wish and put it on. Every day you must rub your wishing bead and think of your wish. You must imagine living your wish. When your necklace breaks, and your bead falls off, your wish will come true."

Kioni wants to help the people in her village and decides to wish to go to school, so that someday she can become a doctor.

The bead eventually finds its way to Emma, who intuitively grasps that this is no ordinary bead. She too thinks on the things for which she's thankful, and decides to make a wish upon it.

At the end of the story, there is a picture of Emma, wearing an animal rescue jacket, and Kiono, wearing physician's clothes ~ and they are facing each other.

This story is special, carrying a message of hope, interconnectedness, and within its pages, the notion of desiring to change the world by assisting others. At the end of the book, there is a page detailing symbolism in the story (like oceans embodying creativity, spirituality and life).

The book and the bead together would make such a lovely and unique gift to give to a child this holiday season; one that entertains and also aids others. Valerie reports that there are already girls going to school in Africa as a result of her book. She also wanted me to let you all know that when people order from Amazon or Barnes  Noble etc, they receive just the book. But you can then order wishing beads from Valerie's website,, or kids can learn how to make their own based on directions, which can also be found on the site.

This just read it and come away feeling uplifted and joyous in the realization that anything is possible.

~ I received a review copy of this book, but all opinions expressed are my own ~


  1. What a great book! I love the message it's conveying! And I so understand you about missing your childhood weather but wanting a wintery one ... but it's reverse for me as I now live in a rather warm place but I miss the snow so much!

  2. Wow, this Emma is wishing for this book for Christmas:)
    Think it will fit under this tree?