Finding Chika

a little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family

November 2019

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I realized families are like pieces of art: They can be made from many materials. Sometimes they are from birth, sometimes they are melded, sometimes they are forcibly constructed, and sometimes they are merely the confluence of time and circumstance, mixing together, like eggs being scrambled in a Michigan kitchen.

But they are all real. Chika was a daughter to a number of people. And for the last two years, she was ours, gloriously ours…

We did not lose a child. We were given one.

— Mitch Albom, “Chika’s Story” in the Detroit Free Press

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to the Have Faith Haiti Mission & Orphanage that Albom operates in Port-au-Prince.

With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”

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Featuring exclusive clips of Chika, in her own voice. 

Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that they can get the medical help needed to return her to a healthy life in Haiti. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure for an inoperable brain tumor. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys a child brings to their lives, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.

Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.

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What Readers Are Saying...

“Unadorned, heartwarming…the takeaway from this simple, moving memoir is that love has no boundaries and should not be hindered by ethnicity, religion, education, or money. A highly expressive, tender story about how ‘families are like pieces of art, they can be made from many materials.'” — Kirkus

 

“This is a story of such heart-wrenching beauty that you think it would take a Mitch Albom to compose it. But Albom is more than the author, for it was his own heart that was broken open by the surprising arrival and excruciating departure of a dazzling little Haitian girl named Chika—who became, in every way that matters, his and his wife’s precious daughter — and it is his own life he seeks to patch back together in the telling.” — Melissa Fay Greene, two-time National Book Award finalist and author of There Is No Me Without You

 

“Mitch Albom has done it again with this moving memoir of love and loss. You can’t help but fall for Chika. A page-turner that will no doubt become a classic.” —Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club and The Art of Memoir

 

“Chika’s story of hope, faith, and unconditional love is simultaneously uplifting and tragic…In this lustrous tribute to a short but impactful life, Albom’s gift for plucking heartstrings and finding meaning in life, which has endeared him to millions, is on full display.” — Booklist

“Albom’s memoir is a lens into his grief but also a celebration of Chika’s spirit and lessons gleaned from their time together as a family. The heartbreaking but uplifting story is a testament to the bravery and resilience of children and the power of love. Essential for all public libraries.” — Library Journal

““Finding Chika” is a touching rumination on the magic of children, the extraordinary lengths parents will go for them and the unlikely family that came together across continents” — AP

“Emotionally rich and deeply affecting, the scope of Albom’s writing is breathtaking and a gut punch to the soul. You won’t be able to put the book down until the very last page. This intimate portrait should be read by anyone who has ever been warmed by the smile of a child.” — Booktrib

“A heartbreaking story of love, grief and the true meaning of family.” — Daily Mirror (UK)

“Although Finding Chika makes for heart-wrenching reading, it is also a tale of resilience and decency.” — The Independent (UK)

“Suffused with a warmth and humanity that evaporates all cynicism…This book is a lovely but heartbreaking tribute to her memory.” — The Independent (Ireland)

“..the book follows the efforts he and Janine go to, to try and save her. But more than that, it’s about the wonderful changes Chika brings about in Albom and his wife’s own lives – opening them up to a new kind of family; giving them a new perspective on what is important … it is also frank, incredibly upsetting at times and very moving. But somehow, despite the pain and sadness, what you remember is how surprisingly funny and hopeful it is – and Chika too.” — Irish News

“Yes, this is a deeply gut-wrenching book that will bring you to tears (probably repeatedly). But it’s also a book about the remarkable and unexpected nature of love and the impact it can have on us if we open ourselves to it. Raw and emotional, Finding Chika is deeply rewarding read.” — Sight Magazine

Book Tour Events

Feb
24
Mon
An Evening Benefitting Chad Tough Foundation – Saline, MI
Feb 24 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

ALL NET PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE CHADTOUGH FOUNDATION

The ChadTough Foundation is hosting An Evening with Mitch Albom sponsored by Bill Crispin Chevrolet, on Monday, February 24 at the Saline Middle School Auditorium. Mitch will be reflecting on the life changing experiences that inspired his newest book Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family.

Moved by the suffering he witnessed after the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010, best-selling author Mitch Albom adopted a failing orphanage in the city of Port-au-Prince. There he met Chika, a bold and curious five-year-old girl, who had developed DIPG – the same form of pediatric brain cancer that Chad Carr suffered from. The story of their journey and the many things they learned along the way is told in Finding Chika.

It is Mitch’s hope that audiences will be moved by Chika’s courage, enlightened by her journey, inspired by her humanity and empowered to help ease the suffering of children worldwide.

Sponsored by Bill Crispin Chevrolet in Saline

Feb
25
Tue
An Evening with Mitch Albom – Harrisburg, PA
Feb 25 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Join Jewish Family Service, with presenting partner GIANT, for a presentation and book signing with best – selling author Mitch Albom. Following the program, Mr. Albom will be signing copies of his latest book, Finding Chika: A Little Girl, An Earthquake, and the Making of a Family.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Beth El Temple Harrisburg | 2637 N. Front St.
VIP Reception – 5:30pm | Program – 7pm | Book Signing to Follow
Tickets $20/GA, $125/VIP | Sponsorships Available

For more information on tickets and sponsorships, follow the ticket link or call 717-233-1681.

Feb
26
Wed
TBS welcomes Mitch Albom – Cherry Hill, NJ
Feb 26 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Mar
23
Mon
FAU – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – Palm Beach Book Festival
Mar 23 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

FAU/Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and co-presented with the Palm Beach Book Festival. Ticket price includes a copy of the book. 

 

Join fellow international bestselling author and founder of the Palm Beach Book Festival, Lois Cahall in an intimate conversation with Mitch about a series of life changing events that lead to the writing of his newest and most personal release Finding Chicka: A little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family. Finding Chicka, marks his return to nonfiction for the first time in more than a decade as a memoir that celebrates Chika, a courageous young Haitian orphan whose life would forever change his heart. Book signing to follow. A copy of the book is included in the ticket price. This event is co-presented in association with the Palm Beach Book Festival at FAU.

Apr
24
Fri
Heroes and Handbags 2020 – Dallas
Apr 24 @ 10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Join us in supporting

HEROES AND HANDBAGS 2020

Event Chairs: Dana Eisenberg & Lauren Zlotky

Featuring Best-Selling Author, Journalist and Screenwriter Mitch Albom

Brunch, Program and Auction of Designer Handbags at The Ritz Carlton Dallas

Our focus: No Texas family battling childhood cancer fights alone.

For more information please contact Larissa Linton at llinton@heroesforchildren.org

 

Heroes for Children advocates for and provides financial and social assistance to families with children (0-22 years of age) battling cancer. Our vision is that no family with a child battling cancer will fight alone.

Nov
12
Thu
Hospice of the Sacred Heart – Scranton, PA
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Author, philanthropist, columnist, and sports reporter Mitch Albom is coming to Scranton for a speaking event and book signing for Finding Chika. 

This special event is presented by Hospice of the Sacred Heart, a not-for-profit, free standing hospice program serving Northeastern Pennsylvania since 2004. To date, Hospice has provided care to over 14,000 patients.

“We invited Mitch to speak to a large group of Hospice of the Sacred Heart employees, volunteers and community members in 2005. We’re delighted to bring him back this year and look forward to his fresh and inspiring presentation,” said Diane Baldi, CEO, Hospice of the Sacred Heart.

Tickets are $55 and can be purchased online or in person at the Theater at North box office: Mondays 11am-1pm, Thursdays 3pm-6pm, Fridays 11am-1pm, and on the night of the show starting at 5pm.

The Chika Fund covers life-saving medical costs and health care, including inoculations, nutrition, regular doctor checkups, medical tests and if-needed hospitalizations at Have Faith Haiti.

shelved logo - mitch albom books on a shelfThe only newsletter dedicated to updates, exclusive content, and giveaways of Mitch’s books! 

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