Kedi lives in a small village in the African country of Cameroon. Her teacher is a young man from America who has told Kedi and her classmates about the Great Depression and the children who are starving in New York City because they have no money for food. Kedi sympathizes with these children so greatly that her “heart stands up and will not sit down” until she has done something about it. But what? The families in Kedi’s village have food – they work hard growing, fishing, and hunting so they can eat – but they have little money. However, once Kedi’s heart has stood up, one by one, the rest of the villagers’ hearts stand as well, and they offer what little coins they have to help the starving children in America.
We learn in the Author’s Note that Kedi’s story is based in truth: in 1931, the city of New York received $3.77 to feed the hungry, from a group of villagers in Cameroon. Even in 1931, $3.77 would not have been very much money in New York City, but to the villagers of Cameroon it would have been a very great deal of money. The author notes similar instances in which people around the world, people who were poor themselves, have sacrificed to help others in need. I am inspired and moved by this story of compassion and humility, and think it would be a wonderful book to share with children of all ages. One does not have to be of a certain age, or position, or from a rich or powerful country, to have a heart that will not sit down when it hears of hunger and hardship.
Posted by: Parry