on October 15, 2012
This is a new addition to Kids Can Press' fantastic series of nonfiction books for upper elementary students called CitizenKid.
This book is about Kenyan Mimi Mahalo and her family who live in a small village. 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, Canadian Katie Smith Milway, 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, who gives us a rich geographical tapestry for Kenya.
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.