One Hen

One Hen

Look at the power of a dream, determination and one brown hen. This is Ghana and life is hard for Kojo and his mother. They survive by collecting firewood and selling it to get enough money to live in a "mud-walled house" and to eat the cassava and yams from their own garden. Then, the twenty families in his village make a plan. They pool together the little bit of money each family has and then one family can "borrow all the savings to buy something important."

One family buys fruit to sell at the market and another family buys a sewing machine so they can make shirts and dresses to sell. Kojo's mother buys a cart "so she can carry more firewood to market." With the little bit of money that is left over, Kojo asks "if he can have them to buy something for himself" and he walks two hours to a farm and carefully picks out a brown hen.

Back home Kojo makes a nest out of an old detergent box and little by little, day by day, his hen begins to lay eggs and Kojo and his mother have more to eat. Then, Kojo sells the eggs and gets enough money to buy a second hen. The story is told as though a storyteller is talking to us and the pictures are bright and patterned and have a sense of energy and life in them.

This is a wonderful story for teaching economics to children and for showing them how some children do not have a free education. They have to pay to go to school and it is so important to them to be able to learn to make a better life for themselves and their family. Kojo goes on to create an enormous farm, employing many and paying many taxes which enables the government of Ghana to build roads and schools. It's a great story of working together and taking a chance on your dreams.

32 pages 978-1894786096      Ages 5-11

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


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. Kwabena also started a trust that gives out small loans to people who cannot get a loan from a bank.

One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore.

One Hen is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.---from the publisher

32 pages                             978-1894786096                           Ages 8-12

Keywords:  farm, Africa, helping others, finance, chickens, inspiration, biography, role of the individual, power of the individual, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old

Read alikes:  Emanuel's Dream; Beatrice's Goat; Wangari's Trees of Peace; One Plastic Bag; The Water Princess: Ryan and Jimmy

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