Milway, K. S., & Fernandes, E.. (ill.) (2008). One hen: how one small loan made a big difference. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press. ISBN: 9781554530281
Annotation: Thanks to one small loan, a Ghanan boy is able to buy one hen that provides extra food and money for him and his mom. Eventually, that one hen turns into a large chicken farm, employing over one hundred people.
Reaction: This book shows how small things can make a big difference, especially in the lives of people who don’t have very much to begin with. It’s also a good example of hard work, dedication and imagination. Kojo is a problem solver, and like Henry Knox, where some people saw problems, Kojo saw an opportunity to better his life and make a difference to his community. Kojo may not have originally planned on running a large chicken farm when he bought his first chicken, but he saw a need and a way for him to fill it. He was resourceful and diligent. He honored the loan his mother received from the village, and he didn’t let the slow and steady pace of earning money stop him. Even though it took two months to pay his mother back the loan and another two months to buy a second hen, what seems like a lifetime for Americans used to instant gratification, he kept taking care of his chicken and selling his eggs.
I would pair this book with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind as examples of what how a good idea and hard work can change your world.
The art is fantastic, really brightly colored and vibrant with lots of yellow hopefulness and chicken imagery and Kojo’s hopes and dreams floating in the air. The illustrations are all happy, upbeat and positive.
This is also a good book to use introduce readers to the idea of microfinance and show kids that even though they don’t have hundreds of dollars to donate to charity, they can still make a difference in someone’s life with just a little money.
Media Used: Acrylic.
Author’s Website: None
Illustrator’s Website: None