5 Children's Books About Microfinance

Microfinance is the provision of financial services to low-income clients who traditionally lack access to banking. Organizations like Kiva and the Grameen Bank believe it's a vital weapon in the war against poverty. But how do we help kids grasp the concept? Here are five books that introduce children to the impact of microfinance (full disclosure: one is mine).

Beatrice's Goat | Page McBrier | Atheneum | 2001

A young girl's dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer.

A Basket of Bangles: How a Business Begins | Ginger Howard | Millbrook Press | 2002

With seed money borrowed from a bank, a young woman and four of her friends in Bangladesh change their lives by starting their own businesses.

Rickshaw Girl | Mitali Perkins | Charlesbridge | 2007

Naima is a talented painter of traditional alpana patterns, which Bangladeshi women and girls paint on their houses for special celebrations. When Naima's rash effort to help to raise money puts her family deeper in debt, she draws on her resourceful nature and her talents to save the day.

Give a Goat | Jan West Schrock | Tilbury | 2008

After hearing a story about a girl in Uganda whose life is changed for the better by the gift of a goat, a class of fifth-graders pulls together to raise funds to make a similar donation to someone in need.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference | Katie Milway Smith | Kids Can Press | 2008

A Ghanaian boy buys a chicken through a community loan program, which eventually helps lift him, his mother, and his community out of poverty.


aangino said…
Great Post and blog! Re-posted at blog: Friends of African Village Libraries www.favl.org/blog
such a great list -- we need more like this!
Beatrice (the girl from Beatrice's Goat)visited my classroom in 2001 when she was 16 years old. She was a lovely, articulate young woman who shared her story with my 4th grade students (in English, one of the many languages she spoke by then). They were so inspired by her that they set a goal to raise enough money to buy a goat, which I believe was $95 at the time. They were so successful that they raised more then $600 to donate to the Heifer Project. Heifer does wonderful work.

Michelle Cusolito
Polliwog on Safari
Debra L. Holland said…
Yes, Heifer is wonderful. Note that Jan West Schrock is the daughter of Dan West, founder of Heifer project. I was privileged to meet Jan at Heifer University last November, still carrying on Dan's work.
Mitali Perkins said…
Michelle and Debra, you were privileged indeed. Thanks for sharing the connections! And FAVL, it's great to meet you. I tweeted about you recently. Thanks for stopping by, and great to see you on the Fire Escape, too, Gbemi!