CAN, JP, US, INT)
Written by: Katie Smith Milway
Illustrated by: Eugenie Fernandes
Published by: Kids Can Press
Published on: August 1, 2012
Provided by the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Kids Can Press has a fantastic series of nonfiction books for upper elementary students called CitizenKid. These books, including How To Build Your Own Country and The Good Garden focus on issues like poverty and hunger faced by children around the world, and also offer ideas for children to get involved themselves.
This book is about Mimi Mahalo and her family who live in a small village in Kenya. They face a long walk for water and drinking it unboiled causes her little sister to become ill. Mimi and her family make a long trek to another village to see the nurse who has medicine for her dehydrated sister. They are also lucky enough to get vaccinations to keep them from getting sick in the future. But Mimi wants to ensure that there is healthcare in her village in the future, so she talks her father into getting together with others in the village to build a clinic so the nurse can visit.
This book not only includes information about public health challenges in developing countries, like mosquito-carrying malaria and lack of clean water, but also easy ways to deal with them. There is a section at the back that encourages kids to get involved by getting bed nets to kids in Africa and other actions. My kids loved this section as it has pictures of real kids and real health care workers. There's also a glossary for Swahili words, a map of Eastern Africa, and more information about public health in villages. More information can be had at the Mimi's Village website.
The author has a wealth of experience with international NPOs and has brought this knowledge to children through a number of picture books including those in the Citizen Kid series. This is paired with the vibrant acrylic illustrations of Eugenie Fernandes. I reviewed Birthday Suit earlier this year which was also illustrated by Fernandes, and she gives us the same rich geographical tapestry for Kenya as she did with the Caribbean in that book.
This is a great introduction to the importance of health and how every child can make a difference by practicing good hygiene and helping those who need clean water and bed nets to fight disease. This should be in the personal libraries of every parent who wants their child to value global citizenship.