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.