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Joan Donaldson

Along with her husband, John, several cats, goats, chickens and a corgi, Joan Donaldson lives on an organic fruit farm in southwest Michigan. She has published two picture books and two historical novels. Her latest book, On Viney’s Mountain won the 2010 Friends of American Writers Award for Outstanding Young Adult Novel, and represented the state of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival. In 2008, she earned a Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University in creative writing. When not thinking of stories or farming, she loves to make quilts, garden, and play Scottish fiddle tunes on her harp.

Song of Hope
Author’s Note:

​​In 1984, Sharin Monzette founded Open Arms India, a nonprofit organization located in Portland, Oregon. Working in India, the group provides children’s homes for hundreds of orphans and abandoned children, and give widows food and clothing. They build free schools in villages, and also offer vocational training for young adults.

Several years ago, my family began sponsoring a girl who resided in one of Open Arms’ orphanages. Soon afterwards, Sharin Moznette, sent me a photo of Susan who lived with over three-hundred other children in a different home, and asked if my husband and I would consider sponsoring her. Susan’s face displayed her anger and heartache resulting from her step-mother’s and father’s rejection. We added Susan’s photo to the sponsored children gallery that decorates our refrigerator, and began to pray that Susan’s heart would heal. As she received love, a smile returned to her face.

In 2008, Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics at the University of San Francisco along with two other colleagues, collected data about 10,000 sponsored children and their families provided by Compassion International. After two years of research, they declared that sponsorship offers children greater educational opportunities that lead to economic success. Yet, they also pointed out that what children gained most from their relationship with a sponsor was hope. Knowing that someone outside of their community cared enough to write letters and invest financially in their welfare improved the child’s self-esteem, so that the child dreamed of a future void of poverty. Whether a sponsorship provides for an orphan or helps a family keep their children in their home, hope flourishes inside the child.

One day, Sharin suggested that I write a book about child sponsorship, so that readers could understand the need for more people to help those who are weak, vulnerable, and impoverished. So the little girl whose life was turned upside-down inspired this book.

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