• lindsayvanstaden

Books that Can Change How You See the World


I was in the book-craving place. That place where I wanted a really good read--not just any old book would do. It needed to keep me thinking long after I put it down and change how I saw some piece of the world. (A high bar to set, I know! But sometimes I’m not in the mood for fluff. Sometimes I just want to be moved!) I get in this mood every so often, and once I’m there, nothing else will do. I love how a story told well can shift your view of the world.


And this is my hope for sharing my favorite reads with you---and for you to share yours with me (please do!!). Teaching our kids compassion begins with growing our own compassion, and these books definitely did that for me. Today I’ll start with one of my favorites that I simply could not put down.


Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan is the true story of Conor, a 29-year-old who left his job to travel the world for a year. He kicked it off by working three months at an orphanage in Nepal. The orphanage called “Little Princes Children’s Home” was supposed to be just the beginning of his adventure, his justification for abandoning his job and traveling the globe. But it ended up changing his entire life’s course and purpose.


During his work at the orphanage, he discovered the boys living there were not actually orphans at all, as they all thought they were. Instead, their parents had paid huge sums of money to traffickers who promised to protect their sons from the civil war in Nepal. But the traffickers abandoned the children in faraway Kathmandu, falsely telling the boys their parents had died. After a time, they were taken in by the orphanage. When Conor learned the truth that the boys’ families were very much alive, he began working full time to reunite the boys and their families, whatever the cost.


The entire story is told with a lightness to it, highlighting hope without diluting the tragedy.

Grennan wove together a beautiful story. He carefully interlaced love and humor (I laughed out loud numerous times) with the deep issues of injustice and sorrow. The entire story is told with a lightness to it, highlighting hope without diluting the tragedy. Simply put, I couldn’t put this book down. Well, I take that back. I put it down many times mid-page, chewing on what I had just read. Many nights I would read before bed and think about it long into the night.


Suffering is hard to see---but if I didn’t look, I’d never see the hope and the opportunities to love.

Grennan opened my eyes to an issue I didn’t know even existed until I picked it up. What would I have done if I was one of those parents in an impossible situation? Would my family’s story be any different than the ones in this book if I was in their shoes? Can I even begin to imagine that scenario? To be honest, I really don’t want to. Suffering is hard to see---but if I didn’t look, I’d never see the hope and the opportunities to love. So the hunt for the next book (and the next perspective shift) begins...


*(I don’t use affiliate links, so the link above is just a quick way for you to access this book.)

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