Sunday, January 24, 2010

CitizenKid: One Hen

This is the first in a series of posts about the Kids Can Press series, CitizenKid. CitizenKid is "A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens."

We're featuring the CitizenKid series because one of the CitizenKid authors, David J. Smith, will be at the February 20, 2010 Dublin Literacy Conference.

The theme of this year's conference, our 21st, is "Celebrating 21st Century Literacies." From the NCTE Position Statement on 21st Century Literacies, we know that "Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
  • Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  • Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
  • Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments"
There will certainly be authors and presenters at the conference whose topics deal with the tools of technology, multi-media texts, and information management. Just as important, there will be a focus on relationships, cross-cultural collaboration, and the global community.

We hope you'll consider joining us for the day on February 20 at the Dublin Literacy Conference. You can find registration information here.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
by Katie Milway and Eugenie Fernandes
illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Kids Can Press, 2008
review copy compliments of the publisher

This is my review from March 31, 2008:

Based on the true story of Ghanian Kwabena Darko, ONE HEN tells the story of the difference that microfinancing can make to an individual, a family, a community, and ultimately, a country.

In the story, Kojo and his mother live in a community that pools its resources and allows the families to take turns borrowing the money for a project that will help them to make a profit before they pay back the loan. Kojo's mother uses her turn to buy a cart so she can carry more firewood to market. With a part of their profit, Kojo buys one hen. The hen provides them with eggs, but also generates more profit. Kojo buys more hens, realizes he needs to finish school to better run his business and eventually gets a scholarship to an agricultural college. When he returns from college, he expands his poultry business, providing jobs for the community and paying taxes that help his country.

ONE HEN is beautifully designed. The illustrations, by Eugenie Fernandes, are bold and colorful paintings. Each double page spread is one third or one half text on a rich (pun intended), luminous gold background. On each illustration is a line reminiscent of "The House That Jack Built":
This is Kojo.
This is the loan that Kojo gets.
This is the hen that Kojo buys with the loan he got.
These are the eggs that Kojo sells from the hen he bought.
The book includes information about the "Real Kojo," Kwabena Darko, and sections titled "What you can do to help?" and "Making changes in the world, on person, one family, one community at a time..." There is also a glossary of African and economics terms.

ONE HEN was featured on the NPR story, Child's 'One Hen' Lays Microlending Success.

Be sure to check out the ONE HEN website.


  1. This sounds like a great book for our youngest learnes to interact with. Thanks for giving us insight to Dublin Lit. presenter too! Can't wait for more.

  2. Mandy,
    This is a GREAT book for lots of different ages.

    The CitizenKid series is fabulous, as you will see this week, and we are extremely lucky to have David J. Smith as one of out authors at the Lit Conference. My post about his books will be on Thursday.


Comment moderation is turned on.