The Gift of a Goat

McBrier, Page. Beatrice’s Goat. Illus. by Lori Lohstoeter. Aladdin, 2004. Ages 7-10.

One way to counteract the “gimme” culture is to share a story about generosity and gratitude. Set in Uganda, Beatrice’s Goat shows how Beatrice and her family must struggle to survive. The family cannot afford to send Beatrice to school. Instead, she must help her mother watch the younger children, tend the chickens, and grind the cassava flour.
Then news comes that a charitable organization has given them a goat. Beatrice will be responsible for taking care of Mugisa, an apt name meaning “lucky gift.” Before long, Beatrice is able to sell the goat’s milk and even to drink it herself. And then, to her surprise, her mother is finally able to afford to send Beatrice to school in her brand new uniform. After Mugisa gives birth to two kids, there’s even enough money to put a new metal roof on their house. Loestoeter’s  acrylic illustrations are warm and engaging, as is this special story based on the account of an actual family helped by the Heifer Project.

Other Books That Touch on Philanthropy

DiSalvo-Ryan, Dyanne. A Castle on Viola Street. HarperCollins, 2001. Ages 7-10.

Fleming, Candace. Boxes for Katje. Farrar, 2003. Ages 8-10.

Milway, Katie Smith. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference. Kids Can, 2008. Ages 9+

Mortenson, Greg. Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea. Dial, 2009. Ages 8-12.

Nivola, Claire. Planting the Trees of Kenya. Farrar, 2008. Ages 7-10.

Rubel, David. If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity. Candlewick, 2009. Ages 10+

Shoveller, Herb. Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together. Kids Can, 2006. Ages 8-10.

Weatherford, Carole Boston. Dear Mr. Rosenwald. Scholastic, 2006. Ages 7-10.

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