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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Finding Chika'


“Chika Jeune was born three days before the earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010.  She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty.  When her mother dies, Chika is admitted to the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage which Albom operates in Port-au-Prince.”

So begins the story of Chika Jeune , one which Mitch Albom recounts in his book Finding Chika, a little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family.  I’m Mark Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads."  Full disclosure, I can’t review the book without spoilers.

Albom tells two stories.  First is the story of a little girl, Chika, who, while living at an orphanage, is diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, and comes to live with the Alboms. The last two years of the desperate fight against the tumor and Chika’s courage is retold in this book.  The other story is about the life, joy and love Chika brings to the Albom household.  Mr Albom eloquently recounts the positive change living out compassion and love has had on his life.  Only with the Alboms a short time, Little Chika turns a couple into a family.

In the closing paragraph of his book “Finding Chika” Mitch Albom tells of the impact,  “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 merely time and circumstance mixing together like eggs being scrambled in a Michigan kitchen.  But no matter how a family comes together, and no matter how it comes apart, this is true and always will be true:  you cannot lose a child.  And we did not lose a child.  We were given one.”  

Mark Martin (also known as Mr. Betty Martin) was born in Midland, Texas. In 1979, after graduating from Texas Tech University, he worked as a financial analyst for Conoco. Upon graduating from Concordia Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree in 1993, he began his ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Egypt Mills and later moved to the Associate Pastor position at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. In November of 2019, he began a new career as a Transitional Pastor of LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). When he's not pastoring, he's watching sports, reading, or riding his BMW motorcycle. His reading tastes gravitate to nonfiction: history, sports, science, biographies, and the human condition. As a monthly guest reviewer, he adds another dimension to Martin's Must-Reads.
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