Title: One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
Author: Katie Smith Milway
Illustrator: Eugenie Fernandes
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 4.6
Concepts: human resources, entrepreneurs, microfinance, loans, banks, money, producers, economic role of government, child schooling and work
Review: A child named Kojo lived with his mother in a tiny village in the Ashanti region of Ghana. The villagers came up with the idea of pooling their savings and making small loans to alternating village members for various business activities. When it was Kojo’s mother’s turn to receive a loan, she purchased a pushcart to help her sell more firewood at the market, and Kojo used the few leftover coins to buy a hen.
That single hen made an enormous difference not only to Kojo and his mother, but ultimately to the entire country. The hen laid enough eggs for Kojo and his mother to enrich their diets and for Kojo to sell the extras at the market. Saving the egg money enabled Kojo to purchase another hen, and after a year, Kojo had a flock of 25 hens. Selling all their eggs yielded Kojo enough money pay the fees for school, where, after many years, he gained the qualifications he needed to become a commercial farmer. Another loan after his graduation helped him to start a new poultry farm that grew to become Ghana’s largest farm, leading not only to job creation but also to export earnings and tax revenues.
Based on true events in the life of Kwabena Darko, a successful poultry farmer from Ghana, this informative book makes an excellent resource for teaching children about loans and entrepreneurship. Moreover, the book provides a nice opportunity to teach children about the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, a banker and economist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for developing the idea of microfinance, which includes very small loans to low-income people to start their own businesses. Colorful illustrations and a child’s point of view make this lesson accessible and interesting to young learners.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children