Giving From the Heart
By Mara Rockliff, Illustrated by Ann Tanksley
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 32 pages
Kedi loves going to school, but she is not a typical student. She walks to school on a dusty path in her bare feet. She works for hours tending the garden, hauling water, cooking meals, and caring for her family. Helping others is a way of life. When her teacher tells the class about Americans in need, Kedi refuses to sit down until she raises some money to send across the ocean to strangers she’d never meet.
Author Mara Rockliff tells Kedi’s beautiful story in her book My Heart Will Not Sit Down. Ann Tanksley’s illustrations have a beautiful tribal, ethnic feel using watercolor, pen, ink, and oils. In an author’s note at the end of the story, Rockliff explains that the book is based on a true story. In 1931, the City of New York received an envelope with a donation of $3.77 to help feed the hungry people affected by the Great Depression. The gift came from the African country of Cameroon. Rockliff shares other stories of children in other parts of the world who donate resources. Reading the book provides parents and teachers a great opportunity to discuss the Great Depression, and the lesson of giving to those in need. $3.77 was a tremendous amount of money for African villagers to give, but they came together to help strangers. With hurricane Sandy in the news, now is a good time to think about what we all can give to those less fortunate.
Reviewed By Elizabeth Franklin