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Book Blurb

“I’m so sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

Felvin felt a pit in his stomach as the voice on the other end of the phone continued.

“Don Roste’s mom has died, and your name is the only one listed in her emergency contacts…the boy has nowhere else to go.” Middle-aged Felvin Gorchuv faced a decision that would change his life forever. Don Roste, a recently orphaned ten-year-old boy, stood at the same crossroads.

Will unlikely friendships be the start of a new family? And can a few pieces of forgotten driftwood be transformed into valuable works of art, reminding us all that our faithful Creator has a purpose in life for all things? The answers lie in the uniquely creative and tenderly written story for young readers, Driftwood Lanterns.

Melodie Fox, author of the My Name Is Also Freedom: Young Readers’ Version

Short Bio

Born and raised in the Philippines, Vanesa T. Chua now calls picturesque Oxnard, California, her home. It was the grace of God that brought Vanesa and her tightly-knit family to these pristine golden beaches near the Channel Islands National Park.

Her deep love of children and learning led her to become a librarian as well as a writer. Driftwood Lanterns combines all of Vanesa’s passions, aimed at elementary readers of all ages.

After immigrating from the Philippines in 1996, Vanesa T. Chua’s family encouraged her to become a nurse, like many Filipinos, but it was not for her. When she first arrived in the US, she was unable to attend school, so her uncle drove her to a public library instead Melodie Fox, editor.

“I was so fascinated when I first stepped into a public library because it was free and open to all. This made such an impression on me. Later when I needed a job, a friend who worked at a local public library asked me if I wanted to work there for the summer. I said, YES!, and I’ve been working in a public library ever since.” Much of Vanesa’s inspiration comes from the beautiful surroundings where she lives with her tight-knit family in the picturesque oceanside town of Oxnard, California. It was here on the beach she saw the piles of driftwood wash up on shore.

“I’ve never really considered myself a writer, even though I’ve been a librarian for years. It was God who opened the eyes of my heart to see there was a story inside of me, a story that could touch others.” Vanesa felt the descriptive scenes and passionate theme of the redemption of Driftwood Lanterns form in her imagination. “I had to write the thoughts as they flowed through my mind because it was heavy on me, speaking to me everywhere, even in the shower. I could relate to the driftwood-cast off, burned, broken, dead inside, and useless to all who passed by, but as God redeemed and resurrected me, and gave me a new life and purpose, He can do it for all who feel disenfranchised.” When she is not helping young people explore new worlds in books at the library, Vanesa is at the beach experiencing the vastness of the ocean and spray of the pounding waves, where she is reminded of the endless love and never-ending mercy of Jesus Christ.




Maxi, college student

“Driftwood Lanterns by Vanesa T. Chua is a moving narrative that evokes a range of emotions in its readers. The story follows a family that creates a bond and shares love as father and son with the help of God. Although not religious myself, the protagonist's faith in God …reinforces trust in him. The story is touching and offers many lessons to be learned, making it a must-read for anyone interested in spiritual growth. Driftwood Lanterns is a ray of hope!”

Mrs. Perkins, First Grade teacher

Sadly, this is all too true for too many children these day! Thankfully a beautiful character, uncle Felvin, comes into Don Roste's life with genuine love that models the Father Heart of God.”

Joshua Balikoowa

potential and an unfathomable creativity which dramatically turns his life from a no-body to becoming a social-cultural transformer of his community-when he invents the driftwood lanterns that provides power to a relatively growing island. This is a must-read for all young children and adults who are interested in the good of all humanity.”