One Hen, the story of micro lending and Mimi’s Village, And How Basic Health Care Transformed It, both by Katie Smith Milway. These large, hardcover picture books for middle school share important global issues such as health care, micro loans and environmental awareness. One Hen, in particular, shows how one egg can lead to one chicken, to more eggs and eventually to food and income for an entire village. Each book is based on a real person or event. The books give information on how you can help to make a difference in the world.
These titles are part of an inspiring series called Citizen Kid. Each title, such as If The World Were A Village, explains an important aspect of global awareness, be it health care, wildlife preservation or clean water. In addition to a good story, each book gives information on organizations you can join to help others. The website tied to these books allows children to take action beyond the books: http://www.citizenkidcentral.com/ has online interviews, videos and activities that complement the books.
Teaching guides: http://www.onehen.org/
Gift Days by Kari-Lynn Winters, is a new picture book for ages 8 up. This is the touching story of Nassali who longs to learn to read and write like her brother, Baaba. But since her mother’s death, Nassali is responsible for looking after her younger siblings and running the household. There is no time for books and learning. But one day she wakes up to discover that her chores have already been done. It is her first gift day. From that day on, once a week, Baaba gives Nassali the gift of time so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted. The book itself is also raising money for the charity. Through the organization I am a Girl, which focuses on education and women’s rights, money has been raised to send girls to school in Uganda for a full year.
Check out: http://kariwinters.com/gift-days
ISBN-10 1554551927; ISBN-13 9781554551927
The Freedom of Jenny by Julie Burtinshaw
When I first read this book, I was entralled. Not only by the story of an African American family who buy their own freedom and travel west on the pioneer trail. But specifically by the fact that Jenny ultimately settles on the Gulf Island where I now live.
Jenny Estes shares her father’s dream of freedom. But for Jenny, who was born into slavery in Missouri in the 1840’s, freedom seems an impossible dream. She toils alongside her mother in the steaming kitchen of the Leopold plantation, trying her best to be humble and obedient so that Mrs. Leopold won’t sell her to a slave-trader. But when she’s not drying dishes or mixing biscuits, Jenny finds time to practice her reading, a skill that ultimately helps the family plan their migration and realize their dream.
The Estes family faces a formidable journey: a grueling passage from Missouri to Saltspring Island, Canada. Along the way, Jenny’s family faces scarlet fever, racial persecution, the arduous Oregon Trail, warring native Haidas, and finally, the challenges of homesteading. Jenny’s spirit and fortitude in the face of many adversities make her a heroine all young readers can look up to.
Based on a true story, this tale is a gripping account of one young girl’s coming-of-age in troubling and unsettling times.
Once I moved to Salt Spring Island, I saw historical photos of the family on which this story is based. I have met their ancestors. I am fascinated by this well written book and a history so close to home.
Raincoast, ISBN 1551928396