Books for Children on the themes of world inequity, sharing and caring for others:
Beatrice’s Goat, by Page McBrier
More than anything, Beatrice longs to be a schoolgirl. But in her small African village, only children who can afford uniforms and books can go to school. Beatrice knows that with six children to care for, her family is much too poor. But then Beatrice receives a wonderful gift from some people far away — a goat! Fat and sleek as a ripe mango, Mugisa (which means “luck”) gives milk that Beatrice can sell. With Mugisa’s help, it looks as if Beatrice’s dream may come true after all.
Lighting Candles In The Dark, by the religious education committee of Friends General Conference
A collection of short stories illustrating Quaker values.
Growing Toward Peace, edited by Kathryn Aschliman
Stories from teachers and parents about real children learning to live peacefully.
One Hen, by Katie Smith Milway
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo’s farm grows to become the largest in the region. Kojo’s story is inspired by the life of Kwabena Darko, who as a boy started a tiny poultry farm just like Kojo’s, which later grew to be the largest in Ghana, and one of the largest in west Africa. One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. This help comes in the form of a microloan, a lending system for people in developing countries who have no collateral and no access to conventional banking. The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore.
The Good Garden, by Katie Smith Milway
From the best-selling author of One Hen comes the inspiring story of one struggling farming family in Honduras and their journey to growing enough food to meet their needs. Based on the real story of farm transformation underway in Honduras and many other countries, this book offers children ways they can be part of the movement to grow “good gardens” and foster food security. Eleven-year-old Maria Luz and her family live on a small farm. This year their crop is poor, and they may not have enough to eat or to sell for other essentials, such as health care, school uniforms and books. When Maria’s father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. Then a new teacher comes to Maria’s school and introduces her to sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. As Maria begins to use the same methods at home, she too sees improvements, which allow her family to edge their way out of the grip of the greedy “coyotes” — the middlemen who make profits on the backs of poor farmers. Little by little, the farms — and the hopes — of Maria and her neighbors are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.
Material World, by Peter Menzel
Without judgments, shows the worldly possession of families across the world. Suitable for adults and children. Coffee table book.
A Life Like Mine
Unicef publication designed for children, telling stories of children around the world and the basic rights of children.
If the World Were A Village, by David J. Smith
A book about the world’s people as if living in one village. Children’s book, maybe upper elementary age.