Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review - Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan

Title: Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal 
Author: Conor Grennan
Year: 2011
Page: 304
Genre: Non-Fiction - Memoir

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
One Person Can Make a Difference

In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children’s Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war—for a huge fee—by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life’s work.

Little Princes is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, Little Princes is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations. 

First Sentence:
It was well after nightfall when I realized we had gone the wrong way. 

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • I first read about this on Bookworm's Dinner (see review). This is probably one of my favorite type of memoir to read (inspirational), so despite having many books piling up already, I reserved this straight away from the library. 
First thought:
  • Read it! Definitely will be in my Top 10 in 2011! And one I'd be recommending to others!
Cover Art:
  • LOVE it. The kid, the colors... 
  • Fitting. When I first heard it, I thought of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry (one of my favorite books, and one that I'd re-read!), and wouldn't you know it that there is a connection.
  • Very easy and engaging to read. The content of this book reminded me of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson and Khaled Hosseini. I'd say that this book is easier to read than Mortenson's books as the latter sometimes were a bit slow.
  • It was very hard to put down - even though it is non-fiction which typically scares people off, this will be a good "introduction" to non-fiction because it's not tedious. It talked a little bit of Nepalese history and explained why there were so many orphans, but it was written in an easy-to-understand and non-boring manner, that someone like me who usually isn't really into history understood it. 
  • Well paced. Definitely made me want to know what happened next!
  • The author talked a little bit about his personal life, but it is related to his story of the Nepalese children so it just added on to the story
  • Even though it is a memoir, the stars in the book really were the children. You just want to meet and help them when you read about them
  • The children could do so much with so little! (see first quote below)
  • Of course all the volunteers and local people who helped these children were remarkable also. I couldn't imagine walking for hours and hours and hours while wearing heavy packs, while the tracks (or lack of) were dangerous at times (right by the cliff!) and that it wasn't very safe (security wise) due to the civil war and its aftermath
  • The author was very honest and you could tell he life had been changed forever by these children  
  • My favorite child was probably Jagrit - the author described him so well that you could just hear him. He was mature and wise beyond his years
  • Hopeful!
  • I wish there were more pictures, especially pictures of each children
  • Would be nice if there is some follow up on what the children are up to now.
  • Got teary at certain parts. You wondered if the parents did the right thing, and not being a parent, I couldn't tell especially since I don't live in their environment. You could say though that no matter where you live, parents (generally speaking) just want the best for their children, giving them what the parents couldn't have 
What I Learned:
  • I didn't know a lot about children trafficking in Nepal, so this book opened my eyes to that far corner of the world
  • If you do not want spoilers, DO NOT look at the photos in the book until after you have read the story!
  • Did I say, READ IT? :) 
Read this Author again?
  • Yes!

Though they would never admit it, the kids had far more fun with the toys they made themselves. one boy, usually Santosh, would take a plastic bottle from the trash discarded throughout the village. To this bottle he strapped two short pieces of wood, binding them with some old string. He collected four plastic bottle caps and some rusty nails and pounded them into the wood with a flat rock. And viola! he had built a toy car. When it wobbled too much going down the hill, he discovered that he could stabilize it by filling the bottle with water. Soon it was racing down shallow hills and crashing into trees. Because he had constructed it, he was able to fix it. (p38)

The kids spoke little English, but as I had learned long ago, language isn't always necessary when interacting with kids. (p229)

Overall Rating:
4.5 Stars. READ IT! (Didn't get 5 Stars only because I probably won't re-read. I hardly ever re-read) 

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. This sounds great- I'll have to put it on my list for the library!

    BTW- started reading The Glass Castle based on your rec and loving it so far. Thanks!

  2. I received this book for review and would really like to read it now that I read your review! Love the cover too. It's fantastic, isn't it?

  3. Glad you loved this! I had to put my book down for a while, but I hope to pick it up next week and finish it. I love it so far!

  4. Oh this does sound great. That last quote just so true and touching. Will have to add this to my memoir list.

    The cover does draw you in.

  5. @heather719 - yes read this! :) Glad you're enjoying The Glass Castle. Have you finished yet? What do you think?

    @mee - it's inspirational. Make you want to do something grand after you read it! (then of course reality set in and we carry on our everyday life...)

    @Aths - Can't wait to hear what you think! I kept checking your blog when you read Left Neglect to see what you thought of it - I thought I was being picky and couldn't wait to read your take on it! :)

    @Marce - The writing makes it easy to read, he used layperson terms to explain the history and just include enough to make you understand the background, without boring you! Even though it's a memoir, I like that the story is more than just about him.

  6. Thanks for linking to your review. I definitely looked at the pictures before I was done reading and found some spoilers, LOL! I definitely thought this book was inspirational. I can't remember the kids names though!

  7. @Jenny - hehe guess my spoiler warning is too late! :) but it's still definitely an inspiring read even if you know how it ends :)