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.