"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
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Tuesdays With Morrie comes Mitch Albom’s most personal story to date: an intimate and heartwarming memoir about what it means to be a family and the young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart.
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 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.”
Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. 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. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, 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 adoptive 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Mitch Albom makes his return to Tuesdays with Morrie–style memoir with a story about how courage landed on his doorstep in a small package. Chika was one of the many children who lived at the orphanage that Albom and his wife run in Haiti. When this curious, bold, and charming little girl was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, the Alboms took her back to the States with them. Chika became the couple’s daughter in every sense, a reminder that family can be defined in many different ways. Albom’s heart-wrenching story puts a fresh, deeply personal spin on his trademark meditations about life, death, and spirituality. Playing a symphony with our heartstrings, Finding Chika is an inspiring read about the preciousness of life.
Albom's powerful second memoir (after Tuesdays with Morrie) is a tribute to Chika, an orphaned Haitian girl whom Albom and his wife, Janine, cared for from age five to age seven, when she died from a brain tumor. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Albom took over the management of an orphanage there. In 2013, fun-loving Chika became a resident and, two years later, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Doctors in Haiti didn't have the means to treat Chika, so Albom and his wife who never had kids brought her home to Michigan to help save her. Albom conveys the heartbreak of watching her suffer (Chika endured surgeries, and lost teeth and hair), while capturing Chika's sweet spirit and youthful resilience. He speaks candidly about being too career-focused and putting off having kids until it was too late, and shares how Chika allowed him and his wife to experience the glory of parenthood decades into their marriage. Albom addresses Chika directly: "You never have to worry about us forgetting you... we'd lose every memory we ever had before we would let go of yours." Both painfully sad and beautiful, this is an absolute tearjerker.