Nineteen-year-old refugee, Alephonsion Deng, from war-ravaged Sudan, had great expectations when he arrived in America three weeks before two airlines crashed into the World Trade Towers. Money, he’d been told, was given to you in pillows. Machines did all the work. Education was free.

Suburban mom Judy Bernstein had her own assumptions. The teenaged “Lost Boys of Sudan”—who’d traveled barefoot and starving for a thousand miles—needed a little mothering and a change of scenery: a trip to the zoo, perhaps, or maybe the beach.

Partnered through a mentoring program in San Diego, these two individuals from opposite sides of the world began an eye-opening journey that radically altered each other’s vision and life.


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Alephonsion "Alepho", Deng

In new book, ‘Lost Boy’ shares the story of his journey from war-torn Sudan to San Diego
September 16, 2018

by Denise Davidson, San Diego Union Tribune

“There are a few reasons why I wanted to tell this story, but the main one is that everyone has a voice, and you just have to find your voice. This is where my voice is right now.”

-- Alephonsion "Alepho" Deng, author


Sunday Print Edition

September 15, 2018

Fall arts preview 2018: Top 10 book picks this season




They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky is Alephonsion, Benjamin and Benson’s account of an unimaginable journey from war. With the candor and purity of their child’s-eye-vision, the three boys recall by turns how they endured hunger and strength-sapping illnesses – dysentery, malaria and yellow fever. How they dodged the life-threatening predators – lions, snakes, crocodiles and soldiers alike – that dogged their footsteps. How they grappled with a war that threatened continually to overwhelm them.

Their story also shares glimpses of the tiny joys that kept them going: the dear friends they made – and sometimes lost – along the way. They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky is a lyrical, captivating portrait of a childhood hurled into wartime and how three very young boys had the good fortune and belief in themselves to survive.

Washington Post

"The result is one of the most riveting stories ever told of African childhoods -- and a stirring tale of courage."

WashingtonPost.com by Emily Wax

Los Angeles Times

"One can hardly imagine such an account being pleasurable to read, but when considered as a tribute to their character, it is compelling."

LATimes.com by Susan Vreeland

Photo by Howard Lipin, San Diego Union Tribune

In new book, ‘Lost Boy’ Alephonsion Deng shares the story of his journey from war-torn Sudan to San Diego

by Denise Davidson For five years, Alephonsion “Alepho” Deng ran during the night with many other young Sudanese boys to evade capture. Close to starvation, he covered a thousand miles on foot — without wearing shoes or parental guidance. To survive, he had to dodge bombs and circumvent dangerous terrain filled with wild lions and […]


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