Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: One Hen How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway

Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to become the largest in the region. Kojo's story is inspired by the life of Kwabena Darko, who as a boy started a tiny poultry farm just like Kojo's, which later grew to be the largest in Ghana, and one of the largest in west Africa. Kwabena also started a trust that gives out small loans to people who cannot get a loan from a bank. One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore. One Hen is part of CitizenKid: A collection of books that inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.
Before this book, I don't think I've read a children's book that discussed micro loans in such an accessible way.

In One Hen, Kojo uses part of his mother's loan from the community in order to buy a small hen. Eventually the profit he gets from selling the hen's eggs allows him to expand his business more and more. In time, he's able to help a number of other people as well.

I found Kojo's story interesting and inspiring. I've always believed that you don't need a lot of capital to start a business. The most important thing is to have a good idea.

The book also shows the positive impact that a successful business has on the community. A business doesn't just help by employing people. Businesses also help by paying taxes that go towards developing the community.

At the end of the book, you can read the story of Kwabena Darko, the inspiration for Kojo; more information about microlending; and a glossary for certain words used in the story.

I enjoyed the illustrations used in the book. The color palette is very appropriate to the setting of the story and the rendering is lovely.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-copy.


  1. Kids learn more about microlending.
  2. Kojo's story is inspiring.
  3. The layout, illustrations and coloring make reading the book more fun.


  1. The length of the book may bore younger kids.

He thinks the sound of chickens clucking and skittering about their enclosure is better than the beating of festival drums.

  1. Your child is a budding entrepreneur.
  2. You or your child want to learn more about microlending.
  3. You want to read an inspiring story.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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