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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pamela Sisman Bitterman: Using Her Words To Save Lives

by Cyrus Webb

I have often said that books have been a life-saver for me, and in many ways its true. There have been times when nothing anyone would say would help me through what I was experiencing, and then I would pick up a book and read something that would change my life and my perspective of what it means to live.

When it comes to author Pamela Sisman Bitterman, she has not just harnessed her gift of writing to entertain but found a cause that literally helps assist with the survival of a people. Bitterman's children's book When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read was recognized by Character Building Counts Book Awards, but that is only part of what she is grateful for. The attention helps to shine the spotlight on the young man Julius profiled in the book and what people in Kenya have to deal with each and every day.

When I had a chance to interview Pam for this feature she told me that her mother always knew she would be a writer and specifically a writer of children's books. It wasn't until her late forties, however, that she acted on what she had come to know: Words can make a difference.

When talking about When This Is Over she is very clear as to why it is so important to get the word out concerning it. "This book will save lives," she told me Pam went on to talk about the trip she took to Africa hoping to make a difference and being faced with the harsh realities that showed her that it was going to be more difficult than she had imagined. She knew that by writing a book about the plight of the people of Kenya she could use the book to be of assistance in a larger way. "If I can get the money from the sales of this book into the hands, tummies and into the classrooms into this small group of children (in Kenya) then I know I am doing good. I will be making a real difference."

I was fascinated by what Pam had learned from the people of Kenya, especially six year old Julius. She explained to me that the title came from a chant he would do when experiencing pain and hardship due to his situation. The chant translated into English is this: "When this is over, I will go to school, and I will learn to read."

I congratulate not only Pam for her dedication to her craft and using it to make a difference and to the brave people of Kenya who are learning to live with purpose, appreciating the gift of each and every day.

Find out more information about Pam and her work by visiting http://pamelasismanbitterman.com/.

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