One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

Sometimes the biggest changes in our world begin in the smallest ways. Katie Smith Milway’s story relates how the purchase of one small hen changed an African community.

In a small village in Ghana, young Kojo and his widowed mother were just able to survive by gathering and selling firewood. One day, given a small loan, Kojo bought a hen to provide them with eggs. He sold the extra eggs at the market, repaid his loan, and eventually saved enough to buy another hen, then another, and another, and so on. After a while, Kojo earned enough money to pay his school fees as well. He attended school and obtained a bank loan, using it to establish a poultry farm near his village. As the farm grew, it employed others, enabling them – like Kojo and his mother – to leave poverty behind. With the taxes paid by Kojo and his employees, the whole community benefited. As the author states, “Change can happen, one person at a time.”

Was there a real Kojo? Yes: some years ago, Kwabena Darko, a boy living in the Ashanti region of Ghana, helped his mother to support his family. Winning a scholarship to attend an agricultural college in Israel, he studied poultry science, returned to Ghana and with some difficulty, obtained a loan to start a poultry farm. The farm eventually employed many others, and flourished, as did his community. Kwabena then established the Sinapi Aba Trust to provide microloans to others. The Trust grew. In a single year, 2006, it provided loans to 50,000 Ghanaians to establish small businesses such as raising small livestock, sewing, selling firewood, etc. The lives of thousands of people from many communities were transformed. Today, Sinapi Aba is part of the global nonprofit microfinance organization, Opportunity International.

The author of One Hen, Katie Smith Milway, was formerly a co-ordinator of community development programs in Africa and Latin America for the global organization, Food for the Hungry International.
One Hen was illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, of Ontario, one of Canada ’s foremost children’s picture book author-illustrators.

Note: The copy of One Hen reviewed above was given to Stratford Public Library CEO Sam Coghlan as a registrant at Stratford’s Canada 3.0 Forum, June 8 and 9.

** Recommended for ages 5 to 10 years.
Find this book in the library catalogue.

FBCD FIC Class (book on CD)

DownloadLibrary (downloadable audiobook)

Summer is here! (Technically.) This means vacations are being planned, gardening needs to be done, and long work-weeks need to be wound down for hard-won weekends on the balcony or deck. It’s hard to read while gardening or in the glare of sunny balconies (I’ve noticed), and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to read while driving to the cottage or weekend soccer matches. But that doesn’t mean one must neglect favourite books – simply listen to them on your car’s CD player, a laptop, or even your MP3 player or ipod. For instance, this excellent collection of short stories from the crème de la crème of crime-writers is available as a book-on-CD, or from our DownloadLibrary audio collection. Classic Crime Short Stories contains ten tales of the criminal element from authors like Margery Allingham (she of the Albert Campion series), G.K. Chesterton (Father Brown’s author) and Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford’s creator). They are read by veteran British actors Patrick Malahide (Law & Order UK, Poirot), and Jack Shepherd (Silent Witness, Charlotte Gray), and average about 30 minutes for each story (the longest is 46, while the shortest is a mere 8 minutes – don’t fall asleep or you’ll miss it!). The CD set contains 4 CDs, each with 2-3 stories; the DownloadLibrary edition can be saved to either an MP3, ipod, PC or Mac computer, and can be burned to your own discs should you wish to keep a copy. Ranging from the mysteriously creepy to amusingly adventurous (I have a soft spot for the two gentlemen thieves, AJ Raffles and Arsene Lupin), the Classic Crime Short Stories audio-book is an easy way to multitask this summer, whether you’re hitting the highway in the SUV or just hitting a nice bottle of white wine on the deck. Enjoy!

Nose Down, Eyes Up

By Merrill Markoe

Gil is a laid-back guy. A handy-man with a perpetual live-in job at a ritzy Malibu summer house for a richer-than-anyone-needs-to be retired couple, Gil happily works on their unending reno projects with his pack of four adoptee dogs at his side. Sure, he isn’t rich and has commitment-phobia (his ex-wife took care of that), but with the owners always away, Gil and the dogs have a pretty easy life, where they answer to no one and where it is always “beer-thirty”. Until the owners announce their imminent return. So Gil and the dogs have to move into his flaky girlfriend’s tiny home with her dogs. Sara is a “dog communicator”, but according to Jimmy, she always gets it wrong, and Jimmy should know – he’s Gil’s dog. That’s right, along with all the other upheaval, Gil suddenly finds he can hear and talk to his dogs – any dogs – like they were human, except they never think or say what we think they’re thinking or saying, and that’s when it gets a bit chaotic for poor Gil. For instance, Jimmy’s sage advice to the other dogs is “nose down, eyes up” will get a dog anything he wants. Plus, after years of being told he’s a “good boy”, Jimmy has come to believe that he is a higher, hybrid creature, half-canine, half-human, and is devastated when he learns that he is all dog. He insists on meeting his birth-mom – who happens to live with the ex-wife – and then refuses to leave his new pack. Soon Gil is trapped with his overly-friendly ex-wife, her jealous new husband and the detective he hired to spy on her. Gil heads for the hills to escape the coming catastrophe, gets into more trouble (with women), and gladly heads back to get Jimmy after his ex-wife’s marriage implodes. Only once he arrives in Malibu, he is met with raging wildfires that are engulfing most of the coast – and the guesthouse where Jimmy was left. Full of canine-human insights, foul language and screwed-up relationships, Nose Down, Eyes Up is nevertheless a very funny and heart-warming book, sure to have any dog-owner looking at their companions in a whole new light. Click here to find Nose Down, Eyes Up in the SPL on-line catalogue.

Anyone who thinks that Ontario hasn’t experienced its share of disasters may be convinced otherwise after reading Rene Biberstein’s Disasters of Ontario!
Quite a number of devastating events have actually occurred in our fair province.

Tornados? Consider the Windsor Tornado of June 1946, which claimed 14 victims and injured 155, or the Barrie Tornado of 1985.

Shipwrecks? Read about the Edmund Fitzgerald, the biggest freighter on the Great Lakes until 1972. It sank on November 10, 1975, in a Lake Superior squall; all 29 crew members perished.

Evacuations? You may remember the 1979 derailment of a train carrying deadly chemicals through Mississauga, which caused the second-largest evacuation ever to take place in North America - after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.

Fires? The Cochrane District Fire in the summer of 1916 destroyed not only the town of Cochrane, but Iroquois Falls , Kelso, Matheson, Porquis Junction, Nushka and other communities as well. Tragically, a number of people suffocated when they took shelter in enclosed wells and root cellars.

The list continues: in all, 75 disasters – including mine collapses, floods, bridge collapses, deadly epidemics and many more marine disasters on the Great Lakes - are described in fascinating detail in this book.

** Recommended for ages 9 years and up.
Find this book in the library catalogue.

Tsunami! By Kimiko Kajikawa

When wise old Ojiisan, alone on the steep mountain, saw the enormous wave flowing away from the land during the rice festival, only he recognized what it signified. “Tsunami – the monster wave!” he whispered to himself in horror. None of the other villagers had any idea of the impending danger, and everyone except Ojiisan, young and old, watched the sea excitedly from the beach.

What was Ojiisan to do? How could he quickly convey to the villagers the terrible threat posed by the monster wave, which would roar back any minute as a tsunami? How could he describe its overwhelming power, and persuade the entire community to leave the festivities and climb the steep mountain, safe from the sea? How would the villagers even hear his feeble voice from atop the mountain? Yet he had to do something, or four hundred people would be swallowed by the angry sea.

In the end, Ojiisan’s generous sacrifice – setting his precious rice fields on fire, knowing that every villager would rush up the mountain to fight the fire - is successful, and every life is saved.
Kimiko Kajikawa’s touching story has been adapted from Lafcadio Hearn’s earlier story, A Living God, and Ed Young’s brilliant cut-paper collage art strongly conveys the dramatic and terrifying power of a tsunami.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.
Find this book in the library catalogue.

An On-line Database from Rosen Publishing

SPL has subscribed to a database just for teens, one that can’t be found by Googling. Although its title, “Health and Wellness” would let you think it’s only about nutrition and fitness and hygiene (*yawn*), it actually goes much further than that. Its homepage alone has links for in-depth, honest looks at an A-Z list of teen issues including Friendship and Dating, Skills for School, Work and Life (i.e. managing money), Body Basics, Grief and Loss, Diversity (how to fit in if you’re from another country) and a whole host of others. Each topic is connected to a list of articles that contain links to related subjects, or sub-topics, and it is just as easy to find an article by hitting the quick search bar at the top of each page. There is an alphabetical and a subject list as well, in case you can’t spell “dyscalculia” or just want to browse all the thousands of things teens are going through. At the top of each page is a link to teen hotlines, and a glossary to look up things like “dyscalculia”. Each article can be printed or e-mailed (for more private reading), and comes with complete citation information for project bibliographies (helpful in avoiding accusations of plagiarism). The homepage contains a new poll each week, teen-wellness trivia with accompanying articles, a “personal story” archive about teens and how they have dealt with some pretty horrible things, and even the chance to consult a real-life doctor on-line – confidentiality ensured. Accessible at the library or in the privacy of your own home, Teen Health and Wellness database contains candid, reliable information for just about any teen issue you can think of, and some that you wouldn’t want to. Highly recommended for all teens. Click here to access the Teen Health and Wellness: Real Life, Real Answers database.

Interview the Best

with Alan Ladd
@SPL: DVD 650.14 Int

There are a lot of people looking for work right now, so the job market is more competitive than it was even a year ago. In order to help put your best foot forward, it helps to know the better practices behind job searching. In Interview The Best, consultant Alan Ladd, a job coach with more than 20 years experience, explains the job search process from start to finish, as he goes around a table of job-seekers. Some of them have college degrees, some have graduated from university, and some have little formal education but years of experience in a particular field. The philosophy that Ladd believes is that it does not matter how qualified you are, the person that interviews the best will always land the job. The DVD is sectioned into “chapters” on your resume, searching for a job, identifying your strengths, the interview, questions and answers, “the close” and the follow-up. There is also a chapter review where each section’s highlights are listed for quick reference (hit the “pause” button frequently to take notes). These highlights are often small thing that often seem unimportant but could be the difference between getting an interview and the job or not. For instance, your resume may impress an employer and she decides to call you to set up an interview. Except that she gets your answering machine, and the message says, “Yo, I ain’t here – leave your info!” She probably won’t, and she won’t call back, so it is important when looking for work to look and sound professional – even in your voice mail. Another example Ladd highlights is doing homework on the organization or companies to which you are applying. Test their products, check out their website and annual reports, visit the site or take a tour of the facility – all this before an interview is good preparation. Not only does it give you extra armor for the interview, you will also know where their offices are located and be able to arrive for an interview relaxed and on time. There are many more true-to-life examples on this DVD, it is a useful tool for anyone at any level of education or experience trying to land a new job; I highly recommend it. Click
here to find Interview the Best in our on-line catalogue.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home