Give a Goat (Written by Jan West Schrock; Illustrated by Aileen Darragh)
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture book for K-5, contemporary
Fifth-grade class as main characters
Rating: A beautiful book with a wonderful message.
Short, short summary: If you have ever heard of the nonprofit organization, Heifer International, then you may be familiar with “giving a goat.” In Give a Goat, a fifth-grade class listens to the book Beatrice’s Goat. This book tells the story of Beatrice, who lives in Uganda and wants to go to school, but her family doesn’t have enough money. Someone gives them a goat, and the goat produces enough milk to drink and sell. With the extra money, Beatrice is able to go to school. The fifth graders in Give a Goat want to do the same for a family, so they do some research about Heifer International in the library. Through their math class, they decide to raise $120 to buy a goat by selling healthy snacks to teachers. They also sell snacks at recess and a basketball game. When they finally finish their project, they have $180–enough to buy a goat, a flock of chickens, and some ducks. The illustrations in this book are so cute, and kids have fun finding the goat drawn “secretly” in many of the pictures.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. If your class or school want to do service learning projects, here is a perfect book to give some ideas, show how service learning can be successful, and launch your project. Heifer International has animals you can give for as little as $10 because you can buy a share of an animal as well as buying the whole animal for someone. So, even the youngest students can start bringing their pennies and saving money to buy an animal that will change someone’s life. If you use this book at home with your family, your family can save money or join together to buy an animal for someone–maybe even during the holidays.
2. For older elementary students, this book is a great lesson in economics. There are many terms in this story that may also be in your curriculum such as loans, quality control, inventory, balance sheets, investment, and profit margin. In cooperative groups, students can create records for the fifth grade class’s project, using the illustration of the “special ledger paper” as a starting point and ending with the class making a $180 profit. Remind your students that the fifth graders had to pay back their teacher’s loan and buy more supplies to make snacks during the project.
3. Many different animals are mentioned as possible gifts in this story. Heifer International has several animals you can give. Make a list of the animals, and ask students why these would be good animals to give to someone to improve a life. What are the benefits of a goat? Hens? Ducks? and so on. Also, discuss with students the possibility of the animals giving birth and passing the babies on to new families.
If you have used this book with your students or your child at home, please leave a comment here.
If you have a suggestion of a book for me to read and review, please email me at email@example.com or leave a comment here.
photo by clairity, www.flickr.com