Thursday, 4 July 2013

Zoe writes: a letter to Deborah Ellis

On our trip we brought along a book called The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis. Deborah is a Canadian author who writes novels about children in other parts of the world. The novels help us to understand the children that live there.

The Heaven Shop takes place in Malawi, and the main character is a girl who becomes an orphan. It's a sad but amazing story. Her parents die from AIDS.

We read this story while we were at La Casa Grande and traveling through Benin. A lot of the things she describes about life in Malawi were so similar to the life we saw in Benin. And while we were living at the orphanage, we wondered about the stories of all of the children there, and how they compared to the story of Binti, the main character in The Heaven Shop. I really think you should read this book if you have the chance. Eden, me and my mom really loved it.

In Benin, we would often go by coffin shops, or see coffins being carried on the back of a motorcycle. That reminded us of The Heaven Shop, which was the name of Binti's father's business. He made coffins for a living.

Here is my letter that I wrote her today. I'm going to send it in the mail.

July 4, 2013

Dear Deborah Ellis,

I loved your book The Heaven Shop. It was especially meaningful reading this book in Benin, West Africa. It was easy to picture people with AIDS.

My mom, sister and I read The Heaven Shop together, but I got so anxious to find out what was going to happen next, so I read ahead. I finished the book, then started over. Then I finished the book again.

We read The Heaven Shop while we were at an orphanage. I loved this book soooooo much! I look forward to reading your other books: Parvana's Journey, I Am A Taxi, and Sacred Leaf, which I have up in my room!

Here's a bookmark for you. It has pansies on it. Pansies make me laugh because they either look like dogs or it looks like they have mustaches. I hope you like it.

Your favourite reader,

Age 9


  1. Zoe,I read this book a number of years ago, also around the time of my 2nd visit to Benin, in 2004. I had forgotten about it, so thank you for this reminder about this story about Binti.
    I'd like to read it again. Sue S.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation Zoe! Do you think this might be a good book for me to read to Eli, or is he too young? The painted cover of this book is beautiful!

  3. Zoe! Always a pleasure reading your entries. Thank you for the book recommendation. Megan was asking what happened to the parents of the kids at the orphanage that you visited in Benin. Do you think this book would help to answer some of her questions? I sometimes worry about telling Megan about kids who lose her parents because I don't want her to be afraid to lose us. What do you think? What is the most amazing thing about this book? I want to read this book and learn more about Binti.
    Shauna :)