Dominic Malual came to the United States as a refugee at seventeen and enlisted in the US army at twenty-one. While serving as an infantryman in Iraq, he began writing down memories of his village and the customs of his people, the Dinka of South Sudan. He also documented his life as a US soldier. At a family dinner in Michigan, he shared his journal with Dorothy Bakker, and expressed his desire to have it published. Impressed by his story, Dorothy offered to help make Barefoot in the Boot become a reality.
Dorothy Fanberg Bakker has skillfully captured the essence of young Malual’s life. By digging deep into his childhood, she has brought to life his many struggles to survive. Her use of detail, dialogue, and occasionally humor, draws the reader into the times and places where the story occurs.