“An extraordinary collection of extraordinary lives lived out in extraordinary circumstances, “Let Me Tell You My Story” is a compelling read and one that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself is finished and set back upon the shelf. A unique and outstanding contribution to our contemporary national discussion over refugees and immigration, “Let Me Tell You My Story” should be a part of every community and academic library collection in the country.”
Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
That review explains, in part, why my blog has been silent for a while. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll repeat that it’s never for lack of things to share that I slip off the blog map. It’s for lack of bandwidth. Otherwise, I have no excuses.
Instead of shuttering closed my blog completely (which I’ve been tempted to do because … bandwidth and I love remaining connecting with my readers), I’m back here updating. Who could use a dose of meaningful, inspiring news?
Their Story is Our Story, (TSOS), the refugee nonprofit I’ve been involved in from its inception in the winter of 2016, has published a handsome and life-changing volume. I’m convinced every person on earth should read it.
You, in fact, should read it. And then you should review it. To expedite that, here’s a link to a free e-review copy:
It is a huge honor for me to now serve as the Executive Director of TSOS’ quickly growing community of visionaries and grit & grip doers. And I am, of course, in awe of our many refugee friends, some of whom you will meet in this book, who continue to share their stories and show us the way to the best in humanity. This volume is a tribute to them.
And I take no personal credit for its existence. Special thanks go to our Editor in Chief, the unstoppable Twila Bird, who worked superhuman hours to oversee the creation and publication of this gorgeous collection in record time; to Kate Farrell of Familius Publishing, who has been a joy and strength to work with; to Christopher Robbins, Familius CEO, who’s publicly stated that this is the most “important book” he has ever published in his 25+ year publishing career; Trisha Leimer, TSOS Chair and Founder who has driven our team with wisdom and through challenging personal transition (last spring, she and her husband Axel accepted a request to oversee for three years and without pay 120+ volunteers for their faith in the Berlin, Germany region); and the entire TSOS family, made up of art, photography, video, tech, writing, travel, social media, refugee liaison, fundraising, networking, translation, research, PR, live events and documenting teams.
Their efforts have, among other significant service, produced Let Me Tell You My Story, a heavy, visually stunning, and substantial work. It is in no way a comprehensive collection of the interviewing and compiling work our growing TSOS team has done over these last two years. Rather, it is a cross section of both our refugee and volunteer stories, pointing subtly to the way host culture natives learn from newcomers like refugees, and how the intersection of these seemingly dissimilar lives blesses and benefits everyone.
Let Me Tell You My Story ranks now among the Top 25 Amazon titles for Humanitarian Law right next to the likes of Malala and Nicolas Kristof. We’ve learned it is already being used as a textbook in a university seminar on global migration, fulfilling our vision (and the suggestion of the above Midwest Book Review) that Let Me Tell You My Story should have a place in every academic, political, local library’s and family’s book shelves.
A final plus: a full 40% of Let Me Tell You My Story’s proceeds (after covering printing, shipping and distribution costs) return to TSOS to help our 100% volunteer organization collect and tell the stories of refugees, of their friends made along the route, and of the hosts who welcome them into their new places of safety.
But our storytelling is not an end in itself. It serves the specific end goal of partnering alongside organizations — local to international — to facilitate the integration of newcomers in host communities.
No refugee is really safe until she or he is integrated in a new home. And integration takes every last one of us. Whether you interact with or even know your newcomer neighbors or not, their story is weaving into your story. Our stories are connected. The deeper you follow those stories, the more unified you realize we all actually are.
Their Story is Our Story.
And Our Story is Theirs.
We are all writers of and characters in one great, evolving story.