Raising Global Citizens:
Books for Kids
Books have the power to inspire us and transport us to another time and place. I recently came across a children's book series that seeks to inform children about the needs of people across the planet and how others are coming alongside to help. The Raising Global Citizens series are beautifully illustrated picture books, perfect for children of all ages. There are a total of 21 books in the collection. I purchased a few titles from Amazon that caught my attention and below are their summaries. If you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend with a young person in your life, consider purchasing one of these as a way of sharing the benefits of community development. These books are not faith-based, but come from a place of compassion for the marginalized. Many Christian organizations are using methods described in these books to help change lives. Microloans, sustainable farming practices, clean water initiatives, education and healthcare are helping to uplift the poor and provide hope. What a beautiful way to share how these efforts work through beautifully illustrated children's books.
How One Small Loan
Made a Big Difference
This book follows the life of Kojo, who resides in a small rural village in Ghana, West Africa. He and his mom live meager lives by collecting and selling firewood and doing their best to survive. Then one day, the women in the community decide to create a savings and loan co-op. Each of the women make a tiny contribution to the pot weekly. Then they take turns borrowing that money to purchase something they would not be able to purchase otherwise. When it's Kojo's mom's turn, she decided to buy a wagon so they will be able to collect more firewood and transport more to the village market. This is how they scale their business. Soon they pay back the loan and continue to grow their profits.
When Kojo discovered that there was a little left over, he asked his mom if he could buy a chicken because he had an idea of his own. As you can imagine, the eggs that his chicken provided him allowed him to bring another product to market, and over time he too was able to scale his small business.
Eventually, he earned enough money to pay school fees and purchase a school uniform. He does well in school, and then earns a scholarship to attend college. After he graduates, he has another fantastic idea. He seeks a large bank loan so that he can buy 900 chickens and farmland.
He does well and eventually is able to employ others, provide goods to a larger market, pay taxes that build local infrastructure and even provide loans for people with an idea. Kojo's story is based on a real person, Kwabena Darko, who did change his community. I love how this story shares the concept that a small loan can have a significant impact.
Visit One Hen, Inc. for interactive learning, curriculum, and resources for kids and educators on microfinance.
The Good Garden:
How One Family Went From
Hunger to Having Enough
Food insecurity affects many people worldwide. Not having access to enough food or not knowing where their next meal is coming is an unfortunate reality for many people across the globe. It is estimated that more than 800 million people live every day with hunger or food insecurity.
In the Good Garden, children have a chance to learn about a family living in a rural community that face food insecurity. They are farmers who rely on the crops they grow to feed themselves and also pay for other things they need.
This story follows the Duarte family living in the hills of Honduras. Maria Luz Duarte, her dad, mom, and little brother do what they can to provide for themselves. They have always made their living by planting beans and corn on a small plot of land. In good years, the crop is just enough to sustain them. In low years, when rain is limited and insects wreck havoc, they struggle to get by.
The story introduces the existence of coyotes (or intermediaries) who make life even harder. They find ways to prey on the poor farmers and leave them without any profit. After a challenging season, Maria's dad has to go away for three months to work on a coffee plantation to provide for his family. He leaves Maria in charge of the family garden.
One day Maria and her schoolmates get a surprise at school, a new teacher! His name is Don Pedro Morales, and he is a cheerful man who is full of new ideas. He and the students plant a garden at the school. He teaches them about composting and irrigation. He also introduces new crops for them to grow. Over time amazing things begin to happen. Nutrient soil and new farming practices bring about good results. The coyote notices and offers to take Maria's vegetables to market for her when they are ready to harvest.
Then her father finally comes home. He is so proud of his daughter when he sees her hard work and her garden's success. The whole community of small-plot farmers has benefited from these new tools. Now it's time to take their vegetables to market, and they decide to do it themselves. They are nervous because they have never before interacted with the shop owners. But it pays off, and they can't believe how much profit they earn. Even Maria's dad is amazed at the low price of corn and bean seeds. He realizes how much the coyotes have been cheating them.
The story concludes with the Duarte family having enough to eat and enough to buy other things they need and save money for the following year.
This story is also based on a real family living in the hills of Honduras. Maria and her parents went from scraping by to becoming exporters of vegetables throughout their region. The father set aside a day a week to train other farmers and organize a co-op to bypass the coyotes and directly take their vegetables to buyers.
This sweet children's book immediately reminded me of Terra Mica, a humanitarian aid organization working among poor farmers in the mountains of Honduras. Through education and community development, they are teaching better farming practices, waste management, and how to have a healthy home. Travel on Purpose is pleased to partner with Terra Mica. Check the "Travel with Us" page for a group trip to Honduras.
And How Basic Health Care Transformed It
This is a fictionalized story about a real humanitarian problem facing many countries in the developing world today. Mimi is an ordinary girl from an ordinary family in Africa. When her younger sister, gets very sick after drinking unsterilized water from the stream, Mimi learns firsthand how quickly things can go terribly wrong. With no health care provider close by, her whole family must travel on foot to a nearby village to see the one nurse who can provide the medical care her sister desperately needs. Though Mimi is relieved when her sister recovers, she wishes they could get a health clinic in her own village. Several months later, it is Mimi herself who becomes the catalyst to make her wish come true.
The book also contains further information about the need of healthcare facilities in impoverished communities, a glossary and a map, and suggestions for how young children can get involved. The book provides opportunities for inspiring discussions about compassion and how we can help be part of a positive change.
Books in the Citizen Kid series show what is possible when people care for the needs of others. These books are an excellent resource for any home library or classroom to spark meaningful conversations.
More titles from Citizen Kid:
The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle
The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
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