One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

Overview

Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to ...
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Overview

Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to become the largest in the region. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Bright acrylics fill this spirited picture book ... a pleasing ... purposeful tale about change and hope.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
... the beneficial effects of small loans and small projects are thoughtfully and carefully explained in the extensive text ... Acrylic illustrations are vivid and lively ...
Booklist
... Kojo’s inspiring, upbeat microfinance story makes the economic concept easy to grasp and admire. Sunny acrylic illustrations [andimpressionistic full-page art ...
From the Publisher
An inviting text and bright acrylic artwork on oversize pages follow Kojo, a rural Ashanti boy, as he builds a poultry farm with a small loan.

... Kojo’s inspiring, upbeat microfinance story makes the economic concept easy to grasp and admire. Sunny acrylic illustrations [and]impressionistic full-page art ...

Extremely appealing ... beautifully illustrated in acrylics by award-winning artist Eugenie Fernandes ... Highly recommended ...

Fernandes’s large acrylic paintings ... include numerous details ... [and] spark the imagination. This distinguished book will enhance many curriculum areas.

... a powerful tale about the value of offering a hand up, instead of a hand out ...

The text and visuals work individually and together to create a compelling story that is simple without being simplistic and that avoids patronizing attitudes ... the book accomplishes the rare feat of entertaining and educating ... likely to be a hit with both kids and teachers.

... Kojo’s story, with its vibrant illustrations, will plant more than the germ of an idea in the minds of young readers.

One Hen is emotionally affecting, as well as informative ...

The vibrant folkish art by Eugenie Fernandes bursts with color and texture and enhances this uplifting tale of the power of giving someone a chance.

... the beneficial effects of small loans and small projects are thoughtfully and carefully explained in the extensive text ... Acrylic illustrations are vivid and lively ...

Bright acrylics fill this spirited picture book ... a pleasing ... purposeful tale about change and hope.

... encourages children ages 7 and up to think about the power we each have to initiate positive changes in the world.

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Milway details the events in the life of Kojo, a fictional Ashanti boy in a poor village in Ghana, as an example of how an idea can change lives. Kojo is based on Kwabena, a Ghanaian who, knowing how small loans can help, started a trust that has helped thousands of Ghanaians to begin small businesses. When Kojo's mother borrows to buy a cart, he buys a hen. Soon he is selling eggs and buying more hens. He can then pay the fees to attend school, then college. He starts a poultry farm, marries, and raises a family. His farm and town grow. Then he begins to lend money as well. The prosperity spreads "from one hen." Full pages are devoted to detailed acrylic paintings of Kojo's life. We see the village and the multifaceted market with local produce and crafts, the school, and eventually the farm. Always the chickens remind us of how it all started. The pages are designed like murals, with activities all over rather than in single scenes. The facts are clearly stated in the notes as opposed to the "story," along with information about how the reader can help. There is also a glossary. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5- After his father dies, Kojo quits school to help his mother collect firewood to sell, but there is little money or food. However, his small Ashanti village has elected to try microlending, a system where the village loans money to one family to buy something that will hopefully improve their lives; once it is paid back, another family borrows it, etc. When it is the boy's mother's turn, Kojo uses a few of the coins to buy a hen. The story then follows him as he grows and slowly but steadily builds the proceeds from that one hen into the largest poultry farm in West Africa. Throughout, the author shows how his success impacts the lives of everyone it touches, from the people whom Kojo is able to employ to the taxes he pays that will build roads and medical facilities. The story is based on the experiences of an actual Ashanti poultry farmer and could open diverse avenues of discussion, including how a community's mutual support and teamwork operate for the good of all. Fernandes's large acrylic paintings capture the warmth of the climate and include numerous details, such as splashes of kente cloth, that authenticate the setting. There are also many illustrations that spark the imagination, such as the one of a tree with Kojo's first hen at its roots, growing more hens as the tree grows, with eggs blossoming from the branches. This distinguished book will enhance many curriculum areas. Tololwa M. Mollel's My Rows and Piles of Coins (Clarion, 1999) is a good companion piece.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
Loosely based on an actual success story, this tale of a Ghanaian lad who parlays one hen into a major poultry farm highlights the way microloans are helping to break the cycle of poverty in many third-world communities. Young Kojo and his mother are barely getting by gathering firewood to sell in the local market, but with a few leftover coins from a group loan, he is able to buy a chicken, sell the eggs and with the extra money slowly build up a flock. Milway follows Kojo through years of hard work as he completes his education, grows up and at last becomes a grandfather, with a big family and a business that has become an economic cornerstone of his entire town. Effectively lightening the author's long, message-driven tale, Fernandes adds plenty of chickens and lots of fanciful details to her sunny illustrations. Kojo suffers no reverses in his climb to prosperity, but as an introduction for children to how microloans are supposed to work, this makes an eye-opening case study. The author introduces the real Kojo at the end as well as some of the international organizations that make these life-changing bootstrap loans. (Picture book. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554530281
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Series: CitizenKid Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 259,115
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Katie Smith Milway, a native of Vancouver, B.C., has coordinated community development programs in Africa and Latin America for Food for the Hungry; consulted on village banking in Senegal with World Vision and was a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit. She has written books and articles on sustainable development and is currently a partner at nonprofit consultancy The Bridgespan Group, based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Eugenie Fernandes is an award-winning picture book author and illustrator. Her many works include the Little Mouse series, Earth Magic, One Hen and Kitten's Spring. She lives in southern Ontario.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2013

    I really liked this book! This is a true story about a young boy

    I really liked this book! This is a true story about a young boy that borrows money from his mother to buy a hen. He sells the eggs from the hen until he pays back the loan and buys another hen. And another. Soon he is making enough money to buy the books and uniform required to attend school. He has also provided his mother and himself with a nutritious food source as well as an income. He eventually grows his chicken farm to be one of the largest in the country and provides jobs for many more people.

    This is such an inspiring story. I love the determination and self-control this boy has. He wants to improve his situation, and so he works hard and eventually succeeds in doing so. He is a wonderful role model for young children. Thought his example, they can come to understand that they have the ability to change their futures.

    My only complaint about the book was length. It was really long for a picture book and my kids wandered off near the end of the book. I loved the story, but I think it would keep a child's interest better if it were shorter.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Grow a Giving Heart

    My hisband and I give our grandchildren a gift of phhilanthropy each year. They receive a credit at a philantropic organization and then get to direct the gift. This book set up their first experience with microlending perfectly, with its story of how a boy turned one hen into a chicken farming business and changed the life of his family and his village for generations. The One Hen web site is also great, and through Kiva.org, our grandchildren not only got to choose the recipient of their loan, but when it is repaid, the money comes back to them to loan again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Good Story With Educational Impact

    I first read One Hen in preparing for a presentation on Micro-lending to a ladies' missions group in my church. My materials discussed micro-lending as a ministry and I was referred to this book as a good example of the concept. After I looked at the book and the wonderful illustrations, I bought two copies to use in presenting my program. Then I gave my two young granddaughters (ages nine and ten) the books. I think the book is a wonderful one to teach children about finance and the concept of microlending as well as to help them understand how people in other places live and work.

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