Saturday, October 17, 2009
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
Poverty has often been ignored in American children's literature. That is, however, changing.
In honor of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we've assembled a short list of some of the recent children's books that give voice to the experience of poverty.
Money Hungry by Sharon Flake. In this short novel, Raspberry is hungry for money and security (the same way we're hungry for books. yum yum yum.). Growing up in the projects, she's focused on having a better standard of living someday.
Thinking more internationally, in Sold, Patricia Mccormick wrote poetically about 13-year-old Lakshmi who, in the hopes of helping her family out of starvation and poverty leaves Nepal with the plan to get a job in India, but is sold into prostitution. Lakshmi knows what it is to go without food and to feel powerless.
Wake by Lisa McMann is a young adult paranormal option. The main protagonist, Janie, is very aware of her lower socioeconomic status and and her mother's alcoholism. (Pick this one up, but you may want to hold off on reading it for...oh, a week... *wink wink*)
If you want to go the graphic novel route, then Amelia Rules! The Whole World is Crazy is a good choice. Although Amelia lives comfortably with her mother and aunt she becomes aware of everything she is lucky to have when she sees that her friend Pajamaman has less.
And if you'd like an oldie but a goodie, try The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. While their mother works constantly to "keep the wolf at the door," the five Pepper siblings grow up battling to meet their daily needs in the midst of serious impoverishment. (Impoverishment? Is that a word?)
P.S. Shel: On a side note, I'm not a big fan of the official poster (at the top of this post) for the eradication of poverty day. Why do we have to represent poverty with what appears to be an African family? Poverty is truly everywhere and should be represented as such. Couldn't we have many faces?
PPS -- Monica: It reminds me of a scifi cover, to be perfectly honest. The earth appears to be shooting off gamma rays....
PPPS -- Shel: If that's the case than we have other immediate problems.