Title: Walking Lightly
Author: Fleur Beale
Illustrator: Michaela Sangl
Publisher: Simply Read Books
Concepts: wants and needs
Review: Millie, a girl born into a wealthy family, does not quite fit in with other students at school. Instead of shopping for expensive gadgets and clothes and traveling to fancy resorts, Millie prefers a simpler lifestyle that revolves around spending time outside and learning to care for herself in different settings. Unfortunately the other kids do not appreciate Millie’s experiences camping and hiking, and they view her as rather odd. Millie becomes increasingly isolated until an unusual event changes the situation drastically. The parents and teachers decide to take a school trip to a tropical island so that the students can learn “how other people live.” While they are on the island, a natural disaster leaves the students and their chaperones stranded in the jungle. Only then do they appreciate the value of Millie’s resourcefulness and outdoor experience.
This enjoyable book does a nice job teaching about the difference between wants and needs, one of the first economics concepts to which children are exposed at school and in their daily lives. The plot moves quickly, the illustrations add a lively touch, and the lead character has a likeable, modest personality. Walking Lightly makes a nice addition to any collection of high-quality books that appeal to children across a wide range of ages.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children