Reviews for One Hen : How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference


Booklist Reviews 2008 June #1
Families in a Ghanan village pool their small savings into a community bank that makes loans available to members. When Kojo's mother borrows money, he asks her for a few coins to buy a hen. The hen produces eggs for the family as well as a few for him to sell at the market, and Kojo uses that money to grow his business into a thriving enterprise. As a successful adult entrepreneur, Kojo now loans money to other aspiring businesspeople. Kojo's inspiring, upbeat microfinance story makes the economic concept easy to grasp and admire. Sunny acrylic illustrations incorporate African animals and scenery into impressionistic full-page art that reflects the optimistic tone of the story. Back matter includes a photograph and short biography of a "real Kojo," information on microcredit organizations, and a glossary. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
This story tells of a Ghanaian boy who starts out with one hen and builds up to a large poultry farm while always helping others. Microcredit is a major topic in contemporary international relations, and this accessible picture book based on real events will help young children understand the concept. Gold-hued acrylic illustrations depict the West African setting. Glos. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 February #1
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) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

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

[Page 103]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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