The book follows a ten year-old American girl named Jane who lives with her mother, a pediatrician, in Atlanta. When Jane’s mother is chosen to go to Uganda for the summer to help cure sick children, she decides to take Jane with her. Jane’s world is turned upside down as she travels to Uganda with her mother, living with a local family in a house without electricity or running water. With the help of her host’s young daughter, Nakato, Jane learns about Ugandan culture and important lessons about friendship and her own values.
The book was inspired by Hernandez’ life experiences – being born in Uganda and raised in Sweden before coming to the United States to pursue her education and career.
“While growing up in Sweden, I was always asked very stereotypical questions about my native country and continent and it would irritate me,” said Hernandez. “As a child hearing such negativity about my heritage, I sought to one day stop some of those stereotypes in their tracks in some way.”
Hernandez felt the best way to accomplish this task was to reach groups in their early stages of development.
“Writing a book for children that subtly addresses things like tolerance and stereotypes was quite a task,” said Hernandez. “Nonetheless, my goal was to bring issues that cause tension to light in a simple, gentle and informative way without insulting anyone.”
As an author, Hernandez is committed to using storytelling to help her readers get to know and appreciate cultures that are different from their own. Before settling in the United States, Hernandez traveled a great deal and her interactions with various cultures have positioned her to be a conduit of knowledge and insight to others. Always a humble and loving person, Hernandez seeks to educate the world about diversity and promote tolerance and respect.
My First Trip to Africa is now available for purchase online at www.hannyhernandez.com .