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Local authors get global notice

A book by two Western New Yorkers on gratitude and the value of helping others is winning fans around the world.

Called "One Life to Give: A Path to Finding Yourself By Helping Others," the volume has been published in five countries -- the United States, Australia, England, Germany and Poland -- and has recently been picked up by publishers in France and the Czech Republic.

Elma resident Andrew Bienkowski wrote the book with Mary Akers of Lockport. It weaves together the story of Bienkowski's Polish family -- exiled to Siberia in 1939 -- along with present-day tales of Bienkowski's life in the United States and his work as a psychologist.

"It's an amazing thing," said Bienkowski, of the book's success. "We never expected this."

Among the stories related in the book is that of Bienkowski's grandfather, Vladislav Paluchowski, who starved to death in the Siberian camp so others in his family -- including Bienkowski, then 5 -- might share more of the meager food rations, and live.

"From this book, you're going to get some ideas on how to better help others," said Bienkowski, 76, a Korean War veteran. "This is the opposite of a 'self-help' book. My message is: help other people."

The book has been given a different title and different cover art in each country's printing. ("Radical Gratitude" and "The Greatest Gift" are two of the other titles it goes by.) "It's the same book," said Bienkowski. "But each publisher wants it to be their book, so they change the title, change the cover, make a few changes inside."

"One Life to Give," a 216-page paperback with a foreword by Dr. Gordon Livingston, is available for $15 from major booksellers and online.

-- Charity Vogel

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