A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star

A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star

A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star: Rwendigo Tales (New Growth Press, September 2017)

Follow along with thirteen-year-old Kusiima in the third book of J.A. Myhre’s The Rwendigo Tales.

Just thirteen years old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima’s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where?

With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship?

Readers of all ages won’t want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Following along as Kusiima makes his decisions, readers will find themselves considering their own choices and growing in empathy for others. This action-packed tale of a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is also a clear call to give up bitterness and forgive deep hurts, restoring broken lives and relationships.

Learn more, read a sample, and purchase a copy here.


  • This is J.A. Myhre’s third book in The Rwendigo Tales series. In it we travel along with Kusiima, the story’s main character, through an inner quest to find more about his late mother. Leaving behind Kussiima and Ngozi, Kusiima’s baby sister, we read that they live with their grandmother in a East Africa. 

    This young adult novel is action-packed and rich in story telling. Kusiima must make the biggest choice of his life when faced with death, brokenness, and ultimately, restoration.

    My favorite chapter is when Kusiima battles through the forest with two unlikely friends. His endurance and love for the animal kingdom is uplifting. It is sure to engage any teenager with a love for animals.

    I could relate to Kusiima’s trials of growing up without a father and living with his grandma. I admired his will and his spirit. When faced with a daunting task, he is up for it with grace and humility.

    I highly recommend this book and am eager to read the first two books in this series. It makes a beautiful gift for teens, including adults. I am very fond of the illustrations by Acacia Masso. They are black and white sketches that add to the breadth of the text.

    Don’t miss out on this special young adult novel.

  • God loves us and knows about every detail of our lives.  That’s the message I took away after ready A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star.  It’s a story for kids that doesn’t sugarcoat the hard things in life – Myhre talks AIDS, starvation, poaching, death, and more.  These issues all play a major role in this book.

  • This is story is set in the jungles of Uganda. It’s a young adult adventure, spy type story. A story of hope. I would say it’s a read that most young adults would enjoy. It was different but it was worth the read.

  • I liked this one. The beginning was slow, so I’m not sure that my middle grade readers will enjoy it. But the story is good, and it tackles hard subjects in a way that kids this age can understand with Kusiima, the 13-year-old hero of the story.

  • A story that really moved me and can’t imagine. It did start out slow for me but it did go in to be a good paced read and lots of information that kept me reading. She has a way with words that bring hope. A great book to read.

  • amandainpa says:

    A fun adventure full of suspense and drama. This story allows the reader to leave their current location and transport to the jungles of Africa.

  • This book has quite a bit to offer. It starts off slow, but the pace picks up eventually and keeps readers engaged. It brings to light some hard topics and puts them in a way that teens can understand. I like that the book dove into harder subjects, but did so in a delicate way. It’s a good book that was well written and easy to follow.

  • By The Book says:

    Myhre is a doctor and missionary in East Africa. She first told her stories to her 4 children. I am glad that she wrote her stories down and developed them to share with other children — children who know nothing about the hardships of poverty, disease, political strife, and the struggle to survive one day at a time. Although A Forest, A Flood, And An Unlikely Star takes place is a fictional African nation, the book reflects the realities of living in Africa. Kamiisa is an endearing character. As the story progresses, his emotional and spiritual growth progresses. What was a life of despair becomes a life of hope and promise. The spiritual thread that is developed is subtle but strong, and is a great starting point for discussions about God’s care and provision. Tough issues are explored in a matter-of-fact way — showing that for the people of Africa they are a way of life.

  • This book had adventure and life lessons that I appreciated and enjoyed. I especially loved the little illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. This was a good story for the young and a great reminder for us adults.

  • Kusiima has a strength in him that kicks in when he realizes he is on his own while lost in the forest. The story is riveting at times and I loved the animals he came in contact with. Will God help Kusiima find his way home? Don’t miss this adventure that reminds us that God is always there. I especially liked the illustrations throughout the book. It was a nice addition to help visualize the story.

  • I unfortunately couldn’t get into A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star. The back-cover description looked fascinating; I simply didn’t find its execution interesting, or the characters compelling.

  • Book three in the Rwendigo Tales series, A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J.A. Myhre is a fun adventure read for kids. From page one, Myhre brings to life the many delightful characters with excellent and captivating story telling. The rich culture of Africa as well as the beautiful and imaginative fantasy world brought to life in the book are both interesting and enchanting. Young readers will not want to miss or put down this delightful and charming African fantasy tale!

  • The story of Kusiima touched my heart. As a reader you cannot help but be saddened by the poverty, illnesses and poaching that you read about. It is absolutely heart breaking. However, in the midst of that, J.A. Myhre was able to paint a picture of hope.

  • Third in The Rwendigo Tales, J.A. Myhre’s A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is a heartfelt story of a young boy struggling to care for his grandmother and younger sister after the desertion of his father and his mother’s untimely death.

    Set in the center continent of Africa, readers unfamiliar with the culture should refer to the terms glossary beginning on page 161.  This reader stumbled a bit with the unfamiliar words, not finding the glossary until the story’s conclusion.

    For animal lovers, silver backed gorillas and a donkey named Nsoli play an integral part in this tear inducing tale.  A juvenile fiction offering many life lessons, A Forest, a Flood, and Unlikely Star is an enjoyable tale.

    *A complimentary copy of the book was provided in exchange for this review.

  • Overall, an amazing story with vivid details that draw a reader into the plot. Kusiima was a unique character that many of us as readers have never read before. This story will move your soul. I highly recommend it to all readers.

  • I love reading middle grade fiction and jumped at the chance to review this book, set in the heart of Africa. Though written for children, it’s fascinating for all ages, especially teens and adult readers interested in travel and volunteering. The beautiful pen-and-ink drawings by illustrator Acacia Masso also bring the story to life. As I read, I couldn’t help but hear the author’s own story woven through each chapter, especially after seeing her blog depicting real-life medical mission work. I learned so much about the problems of healthcare, as well as environmental and wildlife crises. With many schools pushing to incorporate more multicultural literature into the curriculum, I think the Rwendigo Tales offer a firsthand glimpse into African culture and language. Powerful storytelling!

  • Fic Gal says:

    I was kindly sent a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for a review.

    Sadly I couldn’t get into this book. I stopped at almost the halfway point. I do think this book would work for mood readers since it just seems to scream read me during the spring or summer. The title is very interesting. That’s what got my attention and I do like the cover. I also really like the pictures inside. More books should have pictures in them.

    This is a really short book but it just dragged for me. Usually I would have finished a book like this pretty quickly but I struggled to keep reading. I think the writing style just didn’t mesh with me. This is a slow paced book since it is about a boy and his family who live in Africa. I’m okay with a slower paced book but I honestly was bored during this. Not much was going on.

    I do appreciate that there’s a glossary in the back so you can look up words that you’re unfamiliar with. I’m sure we’ve all come across at least one book while reading that could have benefited from that. I also think the way it was written might turn some people off. There’s a lot of text and very little dialogue. But there are also times where there’s a ton of dialogue. It just didn’t have a good blend of dialogue and text.

  • This book is a wonderful, adventurous and full of danger kind of book! I found it captivating and the donkey was an interesting part of the story. I highly recommend you picking up this book!

  • Hot Drinks and Conversation says:

    Although your adolescent reader will quickly identify with Kusiima the protagonist of “A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star”. Author J.A. Myhre skillfully captures the hope native to youth, along with bravado and frustration. After leisurely setting the scene in the first few chapters, Myhre weaves an enthralling tail that ends on an unexpectedly hopeful note.

  • “A Forest, a Flood and an Unlikely Star” by author J.A. Myhre is the third book in this series called The Rwendigo Tales. This is about a boy named Kusiima who is only 13 years old. He is in Africa and he is just learning about life and how your actions will affect the rest of your life. It is a story with a lot of twists and turns and will keep you interested from the very beginning of the book. This is a book for anyone of any age to read and enjoy. I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and all opinions are mine.

  • This review is for the book “A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star” by J.A. Myhre. This is the third book I have read from her and I absolutely love all of them. In this book we meet 13-year old Kusiima. Kusiima and his sister and his grandmother live all alone and Kusiima takes every possible job in order to help feed his family. Unfortunately, at times, that means he has to get involved in things that are risky and not necessarily legal. When he goes on a journey in a forest, something goes wrong, and Kusiima is afraid for his life as well as being afraid of the evil things that are happening around him that he now knows about. His sister’s life is at stake because of her poor health, so he is dealing with that as well. This adventure is one you won’t soon forget!

  • I thoroughly enjoyed A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star over a rainy Sunday afternoon and evening despite the fact that it is a somewhat “heavy” book gently introducing young people to the brokenness and complexity of this world. Although it doesn’t expressly tell how the Gospel makes a difference in Kusiima’s life or how the Gospel gives hope to those facing sin and suffering, it lends itself well to that discussion. Myhre’s writing is engaging, wholesome, and age-appropriate while avoiding over-simplicity in vocabulary, plot, and conflict and is a thought-provoking introduction to life in the jungles of Africa.

  • I’ve enjoyed the other two books in this series, but I think this one has been my favorite. I’ve completely fell in love with these books. They’re just beautiful stories, full of courage, and worthy of a spot on our shelves.

  • My favorite thing about A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is that it so richly shows life in another culture, and because of the storytelling format it’s easy for kids to listen and understand that people in different parts of the world live differently from them. I love the conversations that it brings up.

  • A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is the third book in the Rwendigo Series. This African adventure story which features a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is filled with action. It also includes many current concerns that face Africa including AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental concerns. This series is written for upper elementary and middle school aged children, but is worthy of being partner read with a parent in order to discuss all the material presented in the text.

    While this complimentary book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity Group, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.

  • Book by Book says:

    Readers in search of adventure need look no further than A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star. Set in an African village, where a young teenaged boy faces choices that could change his life, J.A. Myhre’s story transports its readers into the adventure, drama, and suspense within its pages. It’s a quick and delightful read with a great exotic feel, perfect for children and adults alike. It’s definitely a story worth reading.

  • Kusiima is the bread winner of the family. Taking care of his grandmother and sickly sister is quite a burden for a 13 year old boy who would really like to be able to go to school instead.

    He had the opportunity for some extra work and pay, but that didn’t work out so well. He turned into a runaway instead.

    I’m looking forward to the fourth in this series. These books are billed as juvenile fiction, but I’m way past juvenile, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you, Dr. Myhre.

  • This book was very inspiring, great writing and compelling to read with a beautiful story an adventure of a young 13 year old boy with his family that was struggling for facing for life living. The book also will bring us to traveling and exploring along with his journey to protect a forest in African from the out side world. It’s hard to put this book down when you start to read in every page of the story was very exciting and challenges for all us to following all the passion and the decision that all the character had make and facing together in their life. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for this review “

  • This book is an easy read. Small and simple to understand it is illustrated by what looks like native charcoal paintings=). It’s pretty intriguing to read about the African culture as well as the danger the young Kusiima faces as he tries to live up to his mother’s standard of integrity after she has passed on.The story is filled with adventure and twists. It ends slightly abruptly like it could be another few chapters to wrap up the end but still leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and closer.

    This book was given to me for my review.


  • A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is an engaging story that explores a culture, and the multifaceted issues of poverty, the healthcare crises and other interpersonal struggles related to these things in many remote African villages. It is a beautifully written book, that excels in developing the characters, the land around them and how the people and the land impact one another.

    While this was written for the author’s children and marketed as YA literature, it is not a book that many young adults (that I know) will pick up on their own. That said, I think it’s an excellent book to read alongside your young adult readers, to use as part of a classroom or homeschool curriculum, particularly while studying African culture. This book will broaden the reader’s empathy and perspective.

  • The short story was an interesting read. It showcased a lot of problems children from third world countries face that children in the first world would take for granted. Children in the United States complain about going to school when many children in other countries don’t even have the option of attending school. However, I felt like while the story had a “happy ending”, there might be a lot of topics that are too dark and stressful for the target age demographics such as AIDS, abandonment, children dying from starvation, lack of health care, degradation of natural environments, and hopelessness. While, it can be a good tool to let young ones to be more aware and to show them to treat others and Mother Earth with generosity and compassion it would be better to pair this with additional

  • This book is such a delightful and deeply moving novel, sure to enchant young and older readers alike. Totally unlike anything I have ever read this book brings the light issues such as AIDS, Malnutrition and other hard hitting topics that are not as commonly read about and yet it does it so in a sensitive, informative way that makes you stop and think. This book is action packed, well written and deeply moving and I cannot recommend it enough.
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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