One Hen

hen

Written by Kate Smith Milway, Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes

Kids Can Press, 2008

Kojo and his mother live in a village in the Ashanti region of Ghana. None of the twenty families in the village have much money, but they do have a good idea. Each family promises to save a bit of money so that one family can borrow all the savings to buy something important.

My son snatched this off a shelf just as our library was closing yesterday.  It’s the story, to quote the front flap, of “how changes happen in the world, one person, one family, one community at a time.” A book about microfinance? Obviously, this could have been ridiculously pedagogical. Happily, it’s not.  One Hen is based on the story of Kwabena Darko, a real boy from Ghana who lost his father at an early age and  began taking care of hens to help his mother support their family.  When he became a successful poultry farmer, he founded Sinapi Aba (Mustard Seed) Trust, and in 2006 alone, gave out small loans to over 50,000 Ghanians. Cool, right?  The vivid illustrations have a dreamy quality which complement Milway’s matter-of-fact, yet still poetic prose.

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