Theme: Health and Healing

Healthy kids

Author (s): Maya, Ajmera; Victoria, Dunning; & Cynthia Pon (2013)

In this new title from The Global Fund for Children, readers learn the different ways kids from around the world can stay healthy. Photographs showcase children from Afghanistan washing their hands, a team of boys from Australia playing sports, a group of girls from Panama wearing their seatbelts. There are many ways kids can practice healthy living, no matter where they live.  Back matter includes further information about how to live healthy lives, and how kids can help to improve healthy living around the world so that more kids become healthy. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Bonyo Bonyo

Author: Oelschlager Vanita (2010); Kristin Blackwood & Mike Blanc (illus.)

Description: When he was a child, Bonyo Bonyo’s baby sister died. That sad event was the start of a hopeful dream: someday he would build a hospital in his village in western Kenya. This first-person picture book narrative tells how young Bonyo was able to fulfill that dream through education obtained with steadfast support from his family despite the sacrifices required, and countless other acts of generosity and kindness. “In my village there was a word that meant togetherness. That word was ‘harambee.’ I will never forget how everyone helped me.” Bonyo attended medical school in Akron, Ohio (where he practices medicine today), and was able to return to Kenya fifteen years after leaving and turn his dream into a reality. He established a medical mission and a clinic in his home village named in honor of his mother. Illustrations rendered with heavy black lines and colorful hues provide the backdrop for this inspiring profile. A photograph of the real Bonyo and more information about his work in Kenya is included. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Mimi’s Village

Milway, K. Smith (Author); Eugenie, Fernandes (illus.)

In this fictionalized story about a real humanitarian problem facing many countries in the developing world today, readers meet Mimi, an ordinary girl from an ordinary family in Africa. When her younger sister, Nakkissi, gets very sick after drinking unsterilized water from the stream, Mimi learns firsthand how quickly things can go terribly wrong. With no health care provider close by, her whole family must travel on foot to a nearby village to see the one nurse who can provide the medical care her sister desperately needs. Though Mimi is relieved when her sister recovers, she wishes they could get a health clinic in her own village. Several months later, it is Mimi herself who becomes the catalyst to make her wish come true. Author Katie Smith Milway, a former aid worker in Africa, has written the best kind of global education book for children, filled with information that engenders empathy and understanding. The picture-book format with captivating artwork by award-winning illustrator Eugenie Fernandes brings Mimi’s story to life. Along with further information, a glossary and a map, an addendum includes suggestions for how young children can get involved, highlighting how inexpensive, easy-to-make improvements can transform people’s lives. This terrific book would find many uses in elementary classrooms, including lessons on African culture, African family life and the basic health care needs of people everywhere. Most important, it offers opportunities for inspiring discussions about compassion, volunteerism and making a difference in one’s own community and the larger world community. © Africa Access

Emmanuel’s dream: The true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Author: Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls (2015)

Description: Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah’s inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel’s Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Author & Illustrator: Averbeck, Jim (2013).

Description: Mama Cécile and her small daughter Yoyo make their living by selling bowls of their delicious homemade bitter leaf stew every day at the local market. When Yoyo is certain she is ready to make the stew on her own, she takes a few shortcuts. Mama Cécile declares the results only good for the goats. But proud Yoyo is determined to sell her stew, so she takes it along to market. She and Mama Cécile have asked Brother Coin to bless their market bowl, binding them to accept any fair price they are offered. When Yoyo is offered much less than she hoped for her own bowl of stew, she refuses to sell it, angering Brother Coin. It’s up to Yoyo to use her wits and her culinary skill—without shortcuts this time—to appease Brother Coin and regain the blessing for their market bowl. This clever, original story draws on the cultures and customs of Cameroon, and a recipe for bitter leaf stew, Cameroon’s national dish, is included at the back of the book. Although the story is timeless, details in the illustrations place it in a contemporary Cameroonian village. © Africa Access

Baking cakes in Kigali

Author: Gaile Parkin (2010)
Type: Novel
Description: Set in an international apartment complex in Rwanda, heroine Angel Tungararza has moved from Tanzania with her husband, Pius, who’s taken a job at the local university; before long, she develops a reputation as a masterful baker and a sagacious friend. Though haunted by the deaths of her grown daughter and son, Angel plunges back into motherhood, caring for her five grandchildren, tending to Pius, baking cakes and dispensing advice. Meanwhile, the sour undercurrents of AIDS and genocide play quiet but instrumental parts in shaping Angel’s world. © Africa Access

City Boy

Author: Michael, Jan (2009)

Description: After Sam’s mother dies of AIDS, Sam’s grief is compounded by culture shock when he goes to live with his aunt’s family in the small Malawi village where his mother grew up. He and his mother had lived in the city, where he attended private school and lacked nothing, from the latest computer game to fancy running shoes. Those shoes, and the few books he brought with him, become a symbol of his difficulty adapting to village life. Sam’s cousins and the other boy who lives with his aunt are fascinated by Sam’s things. Sam does not want to share, but in his aunt’s spare home sharing is a way of life. His aunt is loving, firm, and clear on her expectations for Sam as his painful struggle to fit in is complicated by his sense of loss and sadness. Sam’s changing living situation and the details surrounding it, from the AIDS crisis to the contrast between urban and rural living, are made accessible and understandable for readers in this affecting story. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Chanda’s secrets

Author: Allan Stratton (2004)
Type: Young-adult novel
Description: Sixteen-year-old Chanda Kabelo has secrets. She loves school and dreams of winning a scholarship one day, but people are dying around her. Everyone is afraid to say why, but Chanda knows: it’s because of AIDS. Chanda’s Secrets takes place in a nameless country that accurately resembles a place where over a quarter of the population is living with HIV. Chanda’s struggles are similar to millions of other children living in Sub Saharan Africa. Having lost her father, stepfather, three older brothers, sister and several community members, Chanda quickly moves from the playful ignorance of youth to an adult life, even though it is difficult for her to understand some of what is happening around her. Though the Hollywood ending makes the story slightly unrealistic, Chanda gives a face and a story to connect teen readers with the statistics they hear in the news. © Africa Access

Global health narratives: A reader for youth

Emily Mendenhall  (Editor), Hannah Adams (Illustrator), Kate Winskell (Foreword)

Description: A young boy suffering from epilepsy in Nepal seeks treatment from traditional healers and western medicine. A young girl in a Tijuana slum observes the role pollution plays in the health of her community. A teenager in Atlanta is the only member of his family not infected with HIV and is learning to deal with the stigma of the disease.

This collection of unique narratives told from the perspectives of young people from around the world serves as a valuable educational tool, providing youth with a context for understanding global health, not just in a physiological sense, but from psychological and sociological perspectives as well. Representing six geographical regions and twenty-three countries, these stories address chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and epilepsy; infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid; and mental and behavioral health issues such as depression, eating disorders, and smoking cessation. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Mountains beyond mountains

Author: Kidder, Tracy and adapted for young people by Michael French

Description: An adaption of the adult book of the same name (published in 2002) looks at Dr. Paul Farmer’s work providing health care for impoverished people in Haiti and other parts of the world. Farmer’s work, rooted in compassion, is fascinating from scientific, social, and ethical perspectives.  Treating patients there, he realized the need for systems to address global inequities in health care. It’s not enough to treat diseases like multi-drug-resistant TB while ignoring the poverty and other conditions that contribute to them. Troubling, challenging, thorny questions and arguments for and against different courses of action are part of his work with patients and with policy alike. The scope of his impact extends from the lives of the people he’s treated to those affected by policies he’s helped develop. It may also extend to young readers moved by his fierce commitment to preserving health and human dignity. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

The heaven shop

Author: Deborah Ellis (2004)
Type: Young-adult novel
Description: Binti and her siblings are orphaned when their father dies of AIDS. Split up and sent to relatives all over Malawi, they suffer increasing hardship. Binti learns the hard way what is most important in life, and is forced to take a hard look at her own. Historically and culturally sensitive, The Heaven Shop is respectful and informative. It doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult issues, nor does it sugar coat them. Instead, the story deals realistically with customs of inheritance without making gross generalizations or judgments about what is done. It is easy to envision life in Malawi because the story is filled with rich description of the Malawian landscape and day-to-day life, from second-hand clothing being sold on the side of a road to lines of women and children waiting to get water in rural areas. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center