GARDEN OF THE LOST AND ABANDONED

The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves

Jessica Yu

The problem by most lights is overwhelming: at least 5,000 children live on the streets of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Some forget the names of their villages. The youngest may not know the names of their parents. But Gladys Kalibbala—part journalist, part detective, part Good Samaritan—does not hesitate to dive into difficult or even dangerous situations to aid a child. Author of a newspaper column called “Lost and Abandoned,” she is a resource that police and others turn to when they stumble across a stranded kid with a hidden history.

Jessica Yu delivers an acutely observed story of this hard-nosed and warmhearted woman,

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The problem by most lights is overwhelming: at least 5,000 children live on the streets of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Some forget the names of their villages. The youngest may not know the names of their parents. But Gladys Kalibbala—part journalist, part detective, part Good Samaritan—does not hesitate to dive into difficult or even dangerous situations to aid a child. Author of a newspaper column called “Lost and Abandoned,” she is a resource that police and others turn to when they stumble across a stranded kid with a hidden history.

Jessica Yu delivers an acutely observed story of this hard-nosed and warmhearted woman, the children she helps, and the twists of fate they experience together. The subplot of Gladys’s garden—her precarious dream of providing a home and livelihood for her vulnerable charges—adds fascinating depth. Garden of the Lost and Abandoned chronicles one woman’s altruism, both ordinary and extraordinary, in a way that is impossible to forget, and impossible not to take to heart.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover
  • November 2017
  • 384 Pages
  • 9780544617063

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$27.00

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About Jessica Yu

Jessica Yu is a prolific filmmaker known for both her scripted and nonfiction work, which includes the Academy Award-winning short Breathing Lessons. Her documentaries have focused on art, social justice, and the environment. She lives in Southern California.

Author Website

Praise

“[Yu] makes her literary debut with the stunning account of Gladys Kalibbala, who has devoted herself to rescuing lost children in Uganda . . . The author delivers a moving collection of cases that have confronted Kalibbala . . . all of [which] have an immediacy because Yu has included generous amounts of dialogue and local color, all indicating the author’s observational skills and attention to details . . . Kalibbala emerges as a magnetic personality with a huge heart and boundless spirit . . . An eloquent affirmation of the vast capacity of the human heart.”Kirkus Reviews

“This beautiful, unforgettable story will break your heart and then leave you awed by the human capacity for kindness.”Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers (Oprah’s Book Club)  

“Jessica Yu’s compelling writing and her filmmaker’s eye paint a vivid picture of urban Kampala and allow us to walk in Gladys’s shoes, to celebrate her every minor victory and to mourn with her when she loses. Garden of the Lost and Abandoned renews my faith in humanity.”Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone