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Little Princes

Rachel Bell, Messenger Reporter

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On March 28, a long-awaited event took place at West Kentucky Community and Technical College. Conor Grennan, author of the New York Times bestseller Little Princes, came to the college to talk about his book. Little Princes is WKCTC’s ninth One Book Read. On March 29, he gave the same presentation during the school day to local high school students.

Little Princes is the true story of Grennan’s journey to Nepal, a war-torn, mountainous country in Southeast Asia. He becomes a volunteer at an orphanage to justify his trip to Asia. Not knowing the first thing about children, he struggles to find common ground with the orphans. He gradually becomes more and more attached, and vows to return to his young friends after his first stint in Nepal. When he does return, he discovers the war to have gotten much worse, and is shocked to learn that the orphans he cares for are not orphans at all; rather, they are young victims of human trafficking. Conor is compelled to do something to help, and takes steps to somehow reunite the children with their families. It is a story of bravery, morality, and faith in the midst of a dangerous and sometimes deadly conflict.

During his presentation, Grennan was candid about his motivation for doing what he did. “It’s not like I always dreamed about going to Nepal and opening up my own orphanage. I was there, I saw what was happening, and I had to do something. I promise you, if you had been in my situation, you would have done the same,” he told his audience. However, he trekked on foot through the mountains of Nepal to several remote villages to find children’s families with nothing but some pictures, information, and hope.

Grennan’s story isn’t all danger and sacrifice, though. In both the book and in his presentation, he includes several anecdotes about the children he took care of. Their hilarity and fascination with the western world makes the story much more happy than one would expect of a book about Nepali orphans. He gives a human face (or several faces) to a problem that is so far-off to his audience that awareness is nearly non-existent here in the United States. Awareness, he says, is the biggest help anyone can offer his organization, Next Generation Nepal. Monetary donations are appreciated, but according to Grennan, the number one way to help is through spreading awareness.

Meeting Conor Grennan was a true privilege for me, as I want to be an author one day. He is a talented writer and a selfless person, even if he may deny that his actions were heroic. I was nervous to meet a writer whom I respected so much, but in speaking with him face-to-face, I was immediately put at ease by his friendly and easygoing nature. His tone in the book is the same as in real life. It was an honor to meet him and to hear his story firsthand. To find out more information on how to help NGN, visit http://www.nextgenerationnepal.org.

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