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Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Before that fateful April day, Jeanne lived the life of a typical Rwandan girl. She bickered with her little sister, went to school, teased her brother. Then, in one horrifying night, everything changed. Political troubles unleashed a torrent of violence upon the Tutsi ethnic group. Jeanne's family, all Tutsis, fled their home and tried desperately to reach safety.

They did
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Carolrhoda Books (first published October 1st 2003)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for

OVER A THOUSAND HILLS I WALK WITH YOU is the horrifying novel that is based on a true story about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This was a subject that I didn't know too much about until I read this book, which made me realize how horrible events such as this one are still happening in today's society. How we could let this happen is beyond me.

The book is written by the adoptive mother of Jeanne to tell the story that is often called the modern day Hol
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it

After complaining about it for weeks, I finally finished Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen. Not only did I finish the book, but I gave it four stars.

Now, I am not going to take back all of my previous complaints. This book was very difficult to get into. Weighing in at over 300 pages, Jansen would have done well to cut out the first 100 (and her editor should have advised her to do the same).

I understand why she included the first section. Those pages give background informa
3.5 stars.

I wrote a whole review for this book and then my laptop crashed and now EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE. But I digress.

I was really excited about reading this book. I mean, it's a young adult book about the Rwandan genocide that's based on the true story of the author's adoptive daughter. And it's translated from German. How could I not be excited about that?!

However. This fell a little flat for me. I think the main reason for this is that at the beginning of every chapter, there's a section
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This novel is based on the true story of a young girl who survived the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda. Almost halfway through it I had to stop, because I knew bad things were going to happen. I didn't pick the book up again for over a week. I finally finished it today, and while I read I had to keep flipping to the dust jacket flap to the real Jeanne's picture to make sure she's happy now. I can't imagine being so young and going through such horror. I don't understand how you can murder someo ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Written by the adoptive mother of a young girl who survived the Rwandan genocide, "Over a Thousand HIlls" follows 8-year-old Jeanne's ordeal as she sees her world torn apart by the war and her family killed because of ethnic distinctions she does not really understand. The description is vivid but seems to have lost some of its poignancy while being told by the protagonist to the narrator, although the parts written from the perspective of the adoptive mother clearly express her horror at the at ...more
Feb 19, 2009 rated it liked it
4Q, 3P, J, S
Dev Assets 1, 4, 16, 30, 34
Best Books, realistic. Written by the German adoptive mother of Jeanne, the real life protagonist, Over a Thousand Hills tells the heartbreaking story of a little Tutsi girl, who is safe in her home, status, identity, and future when the 1994 Rwanda genocide explodes into her life. The author uses a considerable chunk of the novel as a tribute to the loving and structured home Jeanne enjoyed until she became a refugee, fleeing and fighting to survive in her
Sophie Zapoli
This book offers a rare glimpse into how the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide affected the people-especially the children-trapped in its wrath. While the detail into which the violence and pain was explained was unexpected for a young adult book and almost seeming too vivid to be all based on Jeanne's memories, it does justice to those sacrificed during this genocide and teaches many of the most important lessons of life you can learn. Here in America, we use the time of segregation in our histor ...more
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
I really don't know what I should say about this book. I had to read this book for Language Arts. There were some parts that made me really feel sad for her, but there were parts that I couldn't just understand. Jeanne reminded me of Scott from To Kill a Mockingbird. They're so similar in so many ways. These 6 year-old girls are going through society problems because of adults. At that point, they realize so much that they're childhood is vanished. Literally. They crossed this line where they ca ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle school and up with adult supervision and discussion
Powerful story of a young girl's survival through the Rwandan genocide. Written in three parts - before the genocide, during and after. Each chapter begins with some interactions and thoughts from the author who adopted Rwandan girl. Lots of description which gets a little laborious but the story is very powerful. Gives a glimpse into the horror of genocide. ...more
Thandiwe Mkandawire
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking! I had to catch my breath a few times before I could read further. (Watched Girls Trip to ease the heaviness I was feeling). Teya, Teya spoke to me, I imagine her, cry for her, she came alive in the pages. She was a breath of fresh air and than she had to die like that, that any of them has to die like that. Teya broke my heart. I wonder if Jeanne knew Teya was there before creeping away if she would survive. It breaks my heart more knowing that her sister probably felt that way to ...more
East Chapel Hill High School Library
1990s Rwandan civil war, genocide. Young Jeanne has a life filled with love and tradition. As the country is thrown into chaos, her entire family is killed. How did she, a little girl, find the strength to survive such a hell on earth? That's what kept me reading/devouring this book. It's a beautifully written story, told by Jeanne's German adoptive mother . ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the book, the only issue in it was the fact that the beginning was very slow and uninteresting. I chose this book for a school project and I expected to fall in love, when in reality I had to wait half the book for anything to happen. Though it was slow I would suggest it.
Ivy Chongwe
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book is really awesome though emotional at the same time
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Don't take anything for granted ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read
I can not imagine witnessing and then surviving such a horrific event. What a remarkable young woman.
Conor Herbing
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an important story but the main character annoyed me somewhat, as did her mother. I also didn't like the beginning of each chapter in italics--it took me so long to figure out who was writing it and what they were talking about that it lost its pertinence. Some of the characters were great and I'm glad Jansen didn't go into graphic detail but, at the same time, I wonder if the horror of those 100 days of slaughter really comes through. I found it a little hard to follow and take an inter ...more
Justin Mandia
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a fantastic, heartbreaking story of a victim of Rwandan genocide and her battle to stay alive, even as her family is being killed around her. The genocide in Rwanda is a topic that not many people are very familiar with. I can honestly say that the only things that I knew about Rwandan genocide were taken from the movie Hotel Rwanda.

This book gives you an inside look at a young girl's struggle to survive while being persecuted by the rivaling tribe. She is forced into hiding, as the Hut
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review of 'Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You' by Hanna Jansen
Young Jeanne is enjoying her life in Rwanda. She loves to tease and play with her big brother and best friend, often engaging in squabbles with her pesky little sister. She enjoys her grandmother’s amazing stories in the summer and school- at which her own mother teaches- in the winter. Yes, life is good for Jeanne- until 1994, when suddenly, everything changes. In only a few weeks, Jeanne loses everything to the Rwandan genocide:
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is raw, honest, and holds your attention. However, I didn't love it. I can't put my finger on it, but something about it was definitely lacking. I'm almost struggling to even write a review about it because of how I almost felt nothing towards the book. This sounds harsh and awful because of the fact that this is a true story of a young girl who lost her family in the Rwandan genocide. But I'm thinking it is mostly the fault of the author and the writing style that made me feel emotion ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A mediocre book that had so much potential. I did not chose to read this book but was instead assigned to read it for a book group for one of my english classes (I have never even heard of it until recently). After developing a mild interest in the genocides in Rwanda, I was initially excited to read this book. I have read other books of similar content, and have even seen a movie depicting these horrifying events, and have become emotionally invested in the stories of the people who have suffer ...more
Sarah Preval
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a heartbreaking true story of one girl's experience in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. A book that will stay with me for a long long time. ...more
Kirsten Corcoran
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was rather surprised by how good this book was. It was assigned to us as part of a class curriculum and I did not expect to like it as much as I did. The story chronicles the life of a young girl named Jean before, during and after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Jean is the only member of her family to survive and is even forced to watch her mother and brother die in front of her eyes. The novel really focuses on the bravery and inner turmoil of this young girl who struggles to adapt and survive ...more
I had anticipated this book to make me cry since it was non-fiction and about such a heartbreaking subject. Yet, I didn’t cry. I felt anguish and heartbreak for not only, Jeanne, but all that found themselves in the middle of the Rwanda genocide. I spent more time seeing this story as an example of the herd mentality, reading about how many seemed to hesitate before killing or beating but egged on by the taunts of their family and friends, they actually crossed over that line.

From a writing pers
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
In all honesty, I was rather disappointed with this one. The story is that of Jeanne, a survivor of the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Now living with a foster family in Germany, Jeanne told her story to her new mother, who in turn put the words on paper. It's not that the story itself isn't good, because it is...what that poor child went through is inconceivable to most. I was interested in the story line, but the way it was narrated bothered me.

First of all, at the start of every chapter, th
Aubrey Schwalm
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it
The book is about a girl who is stuck in the Rwanda Genocide. She witnesses horrific acts of killing and torture. In the book, she deals with the death of her entire family due to the militia and is forced to figure out how she can survive on her own. It's a book with a lot of moments where you want to hold your breath or close your eyes but it's a good one time read for people who don't do well with depressive novels. I had a hard time reading the novel so I paired it with Small Miracles of the ...more
Oct 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: rwr
"Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You" by Hanna Jensen is a young adult novel. This biography written about Hanna's adoptive daughters life, it shows the struggles of Jeanne (her daughters) life before she came to live with Hanna. It all started with the Rwanda Genocide in 1994, on one random night in April. Jeanne in third grade at the time, had to face the death of everyone in her family. This book takes you through the journey of Jeanne as she struggles being part of the Tutsis tribe while H ...more
Jane Wilson-Howarth
This is a deeply affecting and important book about the bewildering phenomenon of the Rwandan genocide - how six months during 1994 devastated and changed forever this part of Africa. It is sensitively written, told from the point of view of Jeanne, an eight-year-old survivor. I shall ponder the wisdom within it for months to come.
I have a criticism about the quality of the prose but cannot say whether the problem is in the translation. Perhaps the author, Hanna Jansen, is not a natural writer b
Aug 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
In this story of the Rwandan genocide, Jeanne is child enjoying life with her parents and siblings in Rwanda. However, political unrest disrupts their lives, and the Hutus begin masscacring the Tutsis and looting their property. Jeanne's family seeks shelter, but they instead find themselves surrounded by their enemies, and Jeanne witness the murder of several of her family members, as well as other Tutsis.

This book is based on a true story, written by Jeanne's adoptive mother. It alternates bet
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As it is an account of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, this book is inevitably painful and upsetting. The style of writing is simple and clear, in keeping with the point of view of a young survivor, Jeanne. I would perhaps have liked a bit more background and context for events, but that was not really the intention of the book. It is a personal account, to bring the horrible abstraction of a million deaths down to the individual level and make it comprehensible to young people. As such it succeed ...more
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I was born in Diepholz, Germany, in 1946.

Twenty years I worked as a teacher of art, German language and literature and wrote lesson units and texts for a large textbook publisher.

My first novel for young people was published in 2000, followed by three novels for children and young adults, as well as a long narrative for an anthology of world religions. My books have been translated into several la

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