Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

City Boy / Jan Michael

Title: City Boy
Author:  Jan Michael
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books

ISBN: 978-0-547-22310-0
Year: 2009

Concepts:  natural resources, scarcity, wants/needs

Review:  This story takes place in contemporary Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa. The city boy's name is Sam and we meet him just after his mother's death. His aunt has come to take him to live with her. The story is about Sam learning to adjust to his new life with his cousins and their friends in a small village. Life in the village is about simple huts, plentiful locally grown food, and basic clothes. Sam's computer is useless in his new home, and his blue sneakers bring trouble. Yet in this new place, he is able to find friendship, kindness and a place to belong.

This story gets to the heart of what people really need, as opposed to what they want. Ideas about use of natural resources and dealing with scarcity are woven into the story as the main character discovers, and reacts to, his new surroundings.

Review by:
The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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