Falling Uphill book cover and Scott standing on the edge of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Kenyan school children jump for joy when they got their Falling Uphill books.
Kenyan school children jump for joy when they got their Falling Uphill books.

Falling Uphill in Kenya

Inspiring dreams

Finally, it took two months for my package of books to arrive in Kenya. I marked the package “educational material for children,” and luckily no one stole it as often happens. I love how the photo captures them jumping in the air, just like they are falling uphill. I hope the books encourage the kids to dream and take steps of action to make those dreams real. They said, “Asante sana.” Which is, “Thank you very much!” in Swahili; but really, in the distant future, the stories that I’ll hear about the amazing things have done will be my reward.

Falling Uphill in Swahili

I’m excited to explore translating the book into Swahili and have the children do some new illustrations from their cultural perspective. The difference between how the United States children illustrated the English edition and how the Argentine children illustrated the Spanish edition was fascinating. As just one example: The illustration on the left was done by a student in the USA and the one on the right was done by a student in Argentina! And they were never allowed to see any examples. To me, this illustrates how people everywhere are fundamentally the same with similar fears and similar dreams.

Two almost identical pictures illustrating Scott with bicycle wheels for feet
Coincidence or miracle? The illustration on the left was done by a student in the USA and the one on the right was done by a student in Argentina! And they were never allowed to see any examples. (We don’t want kids to copy anything or start drawing pop culture characters.) To me, this illustrates how people everywhere are fundamentally the same with the same fears and the same dreams. For the record, these are some of my all-time, favorite illustrations. Believe it or not, there were days when I just felt like I was a part of my bicycle and that I could fly down the mountains.

Buy a book for a child in need.

I’m thinking of starting a Kickstarter fundraiser to see if I can make the Swahili edition a reality. My goal is to cover my expenses and give every kid a free book. In the meantime, perhaps you’d like to donate a book to a child in need.

I’ve been donating my time to schools and children in need for over a decade. But now my life-savings is gone and I am living month-to-month. Then I saw this inspirational video, Pay It Forward With Pizza, and thought I should try it. I’ve donated books to teachers, dozens of schools, Peace Corps volunteers in Paraguay and more. So — Please help me! Buy a book signed by the author (me) for a child that otherwise couldn’t have one. This book will be donated on your behalf. You can actually read the English version of Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life free online, but that doesn’t compare to giving the kids their own paper book and pencil, eraser and paper to draw their own dream

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Scott Stoll is an author from my hometown who served as the U.S. Embassy’s cultural ambassador in Argentina during the 2011-2012 school year. His time in Argentina and collaboration with Argentine schools resulted in a Spanish language version of his book, Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life, about his 4 year journey around the world on his bicycle.

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