Leon County Library hosts CNN’s Zain E. Asher


Zaine E. Asher and her book Where the Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable. Photo Courtesy: Captiva.org

Leon County Library partnered with the Library Speakers Consortium to host an
author talk with CNN anchor Zain E. Asher as she discussed her memoir “Where the
Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable.”

Asher, born and raised in London, earned a distinction in oral Spanish after
graduating from Oxford University, where she studied French and Spanish. She got a
masters degree in journalism from Columbia University’s graduate school in 2006. She
is an anchor for CNN International in New York, where she hosts the global news show
“One World with Zaine Asher.”

Where the Children Take Us” is a memoir of Asher’s childhood and a tribute to
her mother’s grit and determination in raising four successful children in the shadow of
tragedy. It is her first book, released on April 26.

“The book is really about how despite that kind of tragedy, despite being a
widowed immigrant living in London in a neighborhood beset by poverty and crime, she
raised four successful kids,” Asher said.

The memoir begins with the worst day in her family’s life, in September 1988.
She and her mother were expecting a phone call to pick up her father and older brother
from the airport in London after returning from Nigeria, but the phone call never came.
Later in the evening, the phone finally rang, but it wasn’t the call her mother was

A relative of her father’s in Nigeria informed her that her husband and son were
involved in a fatal car crash, and only one of them survived, but they didn’t know which
one. Her mother immediately got on the next flight to Nigeria to discover her son was
alive, but her husband wasn’t.

After burying her father, they returned to London broken and lost.
Her mother, lost in grief, saw that her children needed her and made it her
mission to fix their broken family. Asher recalls her mother creating a family book club
as the start of her mother’s way of getting them back on track.

The constant push for her children to achieve greatness never stopped and
eventually paid off. Her children exceeded all expectations, becoming a CNN anchor, an
Oscar-nominated actor — Asher’s older brother Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) —
a medical doctor, and a successful entrepreneur.

“If it’s one thing that’s important for me to instill in my children,” Asher said. “It’s
the idea of those uplifters.”