Ryan and Jimmy

Hardcover Jacket
978-1-55337-967-6 | Sep 1, 2006 List Price:
USD $16.95, CAD $18.95

4-color • 8 1/2 x 11 • 56 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12

978-1-55453-271-1 | Aug 1, 2008 List Price:
USD $9.95, CAD $9.95

It costs a lot of money to build a well in Africa — a lot more than Ryan Hreljac had thought. Still, the six year old kept doing chores around his parents’ house, even after he learned it could take him years to earn enough money. Then a friend of the family wrote an article in the local newspaper about Ryan’s wish to build a well to supply people with safe, clean water. Before long, ripples of goodwill began spreading. People started sending money to help pay for Ryan’s well. Ryan was interviewed on television. His dream of a well became an international news story.

In Agweo, Uganda, villagers were used to walking a long way every day in search of water. What they found was often brown and smelly and made a lot of people sick. But when Ryan’s well was built, life in the village changed for the better. A young orphan named Akana Jimmy longed for a chance to thank Ryan in person for this gift of life — clean water.

When they finally meet, an unbreakable bond unites these boys from very different backgrounds, and a long and sometimes life-threatening journey begins.


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Educational Resources


Global awareness
Cultures, Local & Global Community


Guided Reading
Guided Reading Grade Level
Lexile Level
Accelerated Reader Interest Level
Accelerated Reader Reading Level



biography   global awareness   environmental   citizenship   stability and change   Africa   Uganda   good deeds   making new friends   determination   helping others   adoption   diversity


Teaching Guide

Reviews & Awards


“A truly inspirational story, this book can effectively teach about problems and solutions.”
LMC Library Media Connection, February 2007

“Ryan and Jimmy is a true story of friendship and compassion in which a simple wish to help others brings focus to the necessities that unite us all.”
OprahSelects.com, December 2006

“A great choice for book talking or small-group sharing and discussion, with many possible connections, from social and economic to geographic and political.”
School Library Journal, November 2006

“This inspiring true story of survival, friendship and activism is never preachy, and the text, dotted with color photographs, carefully preserves a child’s eye view throughout.”
Kirkus Reviews, October 2006

“Reminds us that many young people today can and will do wonderful things for their communities …”
Quill & Quire, Starred Review, October 2006


2008 Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2007 Information Book Award, Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada, Short-listed
2007 Carol D. Reiser Award, Metro Atlanta Corporate Volunteer Council, Winner
2007 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, CBC, Short-listed
2007 Skipping Stones Honor Award, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2007 Notable Books for a Global Society, International Reading Association, Winner
2007 International Book Award, The Society of School Librarians International, Winner
2007 Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice, Short-listed
2007 Norma Fleck Award, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Short-listed
2007 Alberta Children’s Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2006 Parents’ Choice Recommended, Winner
2006 Disney Adventures Book Award, Winner
2006 Book of the Year Award, ForeWord Magazine, Short-listed