By Conor Grennan
Publication date: January 27, 2011
Little Princes is Conor Grennan's memoir of his time spent volunteering at an orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal, his subsequent journeys to reunite kids with their families, and the founding of his organization Next Generation Nepal to help save the kids who were victims of child trafficking.
I found Little Princes to be a touching story that had serious moments as well as plenty of humor. I really appreciated being able to listen to the audio book and hearing Conor Grennan recount his life-changing experiences in Nepal. I also enjoyed learning about a country I am so unfamiliar with. The memoir starts out with a suspenseful prologue where Conor is injured and alone without a way back to Kathmandu before backtracking to show us just how and why Conor came to be in Nepal. It was fascinating to read about Nepali culture and sad to hear about the suffering the kids had been through. I was also deeply inspired by Conor's desire to reunite the kids with their families at great personal risk.
I think some of my favorite parts of the book were just the everyday ordinary moments with the children at the Little Princes orphanage such as when Conor teaches them to say his name (they first pronounced it as "Crondor") or attempts to teach them something about science. I also enjoyed seeing Conor grow through his time at the orphanage and his founding of Next Generation Nepal. When he first arrives, he has this idea that this will be just a brief stop before his year of travel and adventure. He is changed by his time in Nepal and the people he encounters. I am glad that Conor is open with readers about his shortcomings and mistakes. It makes him more human and easier to relate to. His self-deprecating humor adds to the storytelling. I also liked the discussion of faith. This is not a "Christian" book and it does not have a preachy message but Conor discusses spirituality and the place of faith and religion in his life in a very real and unassuming way. I enjoyed the anecdotes, hearing about the culture of Nepal, and Conor's depictions of people like Farid. The one thing I did not like as much is that the narrative starts to lag during the part when Conor is traveling with his buddies outside of Nepal. Still, this is a minor thing and overall I think Little Princes is one of the best books I've read this year.
Conor Grennan's story and his life's work are inspiring. At times the book made me laugh out loud while other moments moved me to tears. Even if you don't typically read nonfiction, there is something for everyone: adorable kids that you can't help but care about, adventure, suspense, humor, and even a little romance as Conor meets his wife Liz. Little Princes is a book I won't soon forget. I am generally not a nonfiction reader so that is saying something! You can find out more about Conor, Little Princes, and Next Generation Nepal at Conor's website.