Title: Mia's Story: A Sketchbook of Hopes & Dreams
Author and Illustrator: Michael Foreman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.4
Concepts: scarcity, poverty, markets, economic development
Review: Mia and her parents had very little in the way of material goods. How could they, when they lived among the most vulnerable of the poor in a garbage dump. The village used to be nestled on farmland, but as city sprawl crowded out their land, the villagers had to forsake farming for picking trash. Papa made a little money selling scrap metal in the city, and Mia could at least still attend school, albeit in a small structure at the dump made of recycled materials.
They found inspiration in their community and in their dreams. Mia also found great joy in a small stray puppy that Papa brought home from the city. When her sweet dog disappeared one winter’s day, Mia traveled high up into the mountains to search for him. Little did she realize that the beautiful white flowers that she found on the mountain held the key to improved well-being and economic empowerment.
This book is truly remarkable. With an unpredictable plot and stunning illustrations, each turn of the page contributes to a growing sense of awe, surprise, and hope. Thoroughly ingrained in the poignant story are vital lessons about poverty, economic development, and markets. Parents and teachers seeking rare gems among children’s books will surely find Mia’s Story of immense value for teaching about the power of small miracles and big dreams.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children