Jeannie Mancini's Reviews > Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

Little Princes by Conor Grennan
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's review
Oct 19, 2011

it was amazing
I own a copy

An Eye-Opening Window to Nepal

When Irish American Conor Grennan decides to take a whirlwind year-long trip around the world, he opts to spend his first three months volunteering at a children’s orphanage in Nepal. The instant he walked through the gates of Little Princes, he was mobbed by laughing little boys attaching themselves to his legs like leeches hungry for blood. Running, playing, giggling children swarmed Conor from the moment he arrived, so ecstatic to have a foreigner visiting them. For Conor it was love at first sight, although he was a bit terrified. Never had he spent time with children, never mind work with them for three months.

After settling in and getting to know the children of Little Princes, the facility high in the Nepali Himalayas, Conor finds he loves Nepal and all the hazards, poverty, and trials that come with it. In 2004 when he steps off the plane from America, a Maoist civil war is raging around him. Nepali villagers are hungry and starvation is a large problem. Winters are harsh in the Himalayas, the cold freezing climate hardens the people of Nepal as they eek out a meager existence and the food shortages of winter. However, impoverished people, little heat, border patrols, and starving children, still doesn’t put Conor off. For the next few months he digs in to help the facility and works with these charming love-starved kids with great enthusiasm. Rice bowl after rice bowl, Conor finds he has found his life’s calling.

Weeks into his assignment, through various sources, Conor learns that the kids of Little Princes are not really orphans. Shockingly the staff learns that these children were stolen. Child trafficking runs rampant in Nepal, thousands of children have been taken from their families. Parents are scammed by men who knock on village doors offering to take children away from the war, where they will be taken to a facility that will be safe from the danger, fed well, and schooled. Believing these men, parents pay high prices to keep their children safe only to be swindled. When months and years go by, both child and parents believe each other dead.

Conor and the staff at Little Princes are outraged to hear this disheartening news. Together they form a plan, gather resources, devise fund-raising programs, and ambitiously embark on a hell-bound mission to reunite these adorable imps with their mothers and fathers. Conor and his assistant Farid plan and complete mission after mission, endangering their lives as they hike through the treacherous mountains and locate one family after another hidden within the small villages of Nepal. Threatened by Maoist soldiers at gun point, locked in place by snow blizzards unable to keep moving, hiding themselves in family huts away from roaming militia, Farid and Conor never give up as one family after another are found.

This profound and eye-opening memoir is one of the best I’ve read yet. In the style of Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea only much better, Little Princes is extremely heartwarming. Readers will fall head over heels with the kids who offer nothing but hugs and unlimited affection for Conor, and will not be able to put the book down once turning that first page that will take them on a journey they won’t forget. I laughed at the author’s dry sense of humor, I cried when these children both broke my heart and in turn made me smile. How these children persevered and knew unlimited joy during these times of chaos and crimes against them was simply beyond inspiring. Their faith in Conor, their playfulness and insight into his own heart when he falls in love, showed a level of uncanny intelligence and a depth of human compassion that will just astonish readers everywhere. This book is one of those that you say “Standing Ovation Please”!!!
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