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One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference


4.31  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.

After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Kids Can Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
The subtitle of One Hen suggests eligibility for the Jane Addams book award, which prizes children's books that encourage young people to participate in creative solutions to problems. In One Hen, Kojo has a good idea, to use a small loan from village co-op funds to buy a hen: the hen produces eggs, the eggs bring in funds to buy more hens, more eggs, school fees, and eventually a farm, which provides employment and pays taxes that support the entire country. Kojo also makes a loan to another ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a true story about a young boy who turns a small loan into a profitable business. The narrative has two layers; a simple, short narrative about what Kojo did, printed in a larger font, followed by a longer narrative explanation of what happened. The story isn't very long, but we still broke it up into two readings (mainly because I was very tired and was starting to fall asleep.)

The illustrations are terrific and complement the story very nicely. We really enjoyed reading this book
Hannah McIver
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Diverse Literature
Awards: N/A
Audience: 1st grade - 6th grade
This book shows how one simple act of generosity can set up a family in poverty for success. Kojo, a Ghanan boy whose father died and mother struggled to provide financially, receives a small loan and invests in a hen, in which he eventually creates a farm that provides for his family.
A. Ghana culture is portrayed in this book.
B. Poultry farms are common in Ghana, and this cultural custom is discussed.
C. The author portrayed
Hannah  Patterson
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
“One Hen” would serve as a great model text to demonstrate “cause and effect” organization, as Kojo’s small loan turns into one hen, and then many eggs which he can sell to buy more chickens, and so on. As Kojo’s story takes place in the Ashanti region of Ghana, this book also offers a multi-cultural perspective that will most likely be new to the majority of students. “One Hen” would be beneficial for middle school students to be exposed to, as they are faced with a lot more independence and ...more
NSAndrew Liebergen
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Award winning book
Fantastic art work
Integral pictures to the story
for grades 3-5 but with the topic of microlending easily usable up into high school.

I can see why this one won!

One Hen is the inspiring story Kojo, a young boy from Ghana, Africa. Kojo and his widowed mother collect firewood to sell. They live:

in a mud-walled house with an open fire for cooking. Beside it is a garden where they grow their own food. They never have much money or much to eat.

The families in Kojo’s village come up
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Katie Smith Milway’s, One Hen, is a must read!

Milway’s impressive resume: partner at the Bridgespan Group, coordinator of community development programs in Africa for Food for the Hungry International, and living and working in Africa for years doing research, made her more than qualified to create an accurate and authentic portrayal of a young Ghanian boy’s life. ( With an inspirational idea, perseverance, and a small loan, the young boy, Kojo, changes not only his
Noelle Marie
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kojo and his mother live in a village in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Since his father died, Kojo has had to quit school and help his mother sell wood in the market. He and his mother never have much money or much food to eat. None of the families in their area have much money but they do have a good idea. Each family plans to save a little money so that one family may buy something important. Each family will take turns borrowing the money. When it is Kojo’s families turn to borrow the money ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
One Hen is a story about a young boy, Kojo, living in Africa who is being raised by his mother after his father’s death. They live in a poor, rural village and the boy has to stop going to school in order to help his mother. They gather and sell firewood in the village square. One day the village decides to start saving money and work together to give a loan to each family in turn. When it is Kojo’s families turn his mother buys a cart so they can carry and sell more wood at a time. With the ...more
(NS) Lauren
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Grade Level: 2-4

This whimsically illustrated story about a boy named Kojo in modern-day Ghana, is based on the life of entrepreneur Kwabena Darko. When Kojo asks for the money left-over from a small business loan received by his mother, he buys a hen and begins selling the extra eggs at the market. As time goes on, Kojo is able to turn his profits into additional hens, and raises enough money for school fees. His investment in "one hen" eventually evoloves into the biggest poultry farm in
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I didn't expect to be adding picture books to GoodReads, but I couldn't resist adding this one. One Hen is the story of a boy living in Ghana whose mother gets a loan to buy a cart so she can carry more wood to the market. Using a few leftover pennies from the loan, Kojo buys a hen so he can sell the eggs. Based on the life of Kwabena Darko, a poor boy who learned to raise chickens and today is a successful poultry producer, the story is really a primer on the microfinance movement. Kwabena ...more
Mitel Patel
One Hen How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway

One Hen is the moving story about Kojo, a young boy from Ghana. Kojo and his widowed mother collect firewood to sell. They live in a mud-walled house with an open fire for cooking. Beside it is a garden where they grow their own food. They never have much money or much to eat. The families in Kojo’s village come up with an idea and from then Kojo’s life starts to change for the better. An exciting story, suitable for KS2. The author does an outstanding job in taking an adult topic and weaving
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A good introduction to an incredibly complex topic, One Hen shows readers the impact that a small loan can make on a family and community. The topic of micro finance is timely, but the issue of poverty is nothing new. The difference here, is that the message is hopeful; the message isn't that the world's poor need only handouts and pity, it is with a little bit of help and hope, anyone can be empowered.

The lengthy text is a bit weighty, but the short verse running throughout makes a nice
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was an inspiring story about how a small monetary loan to a boy in Africa snowballed into economic prosperity not only for the man the boy became, but for those around him, and, ultimately, his country. Apparently there are organizations you can contribute money to that give out small, low-interest loans to individuals in third-world countries to help them better themselves economically. Most interesting... and highly recommended!
Camille Tesch
Sep 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
Ages 8-10
Amanda Bickford
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Picture Books, Realistic Fiction, Multi-Cultural

Copyright Date: 2008

Estimate of age level of interest: Grade 2–5

Estimate of Reading level: Grade 3

Brief Description: Inspired by true events, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.

Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book:

Picture books
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One Hen, the story of Kojo, a village boy in Ghana tells how the people in Kojo's village took turns saving and then loaning each other money to take on projects to help improve their village. When it is Kojo's turn, he purchases a hen. His hen takes to laying eggs well providing Kojo and his mother with another food source as well as something to sell at the market. Kojo saves the money he makes selling eggs to pay his loan back and then continues to save so that bit by bit he is able to ...more
Jeanne Marie
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: child-lit
Concise Summary: One Hen by Katie Smith Milway follows the story of a young boy from a village in Uganda named Kojo. Kojo and his mother get a microloan, which he uses to buy a chicken. He then sells the chicken's eggs to market and begins to make a great profit from it. Over a long period of time, Kojo pulls himself out of poverty and builds a very successful life through education and hard work. Watch, as a young boy in rural Ghana flourishes into a successful and kind businessman.

Tess Upchurch
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Copyright: 2008
Number of Pages: 112
Book Format: paperback
Reading Level: grades 3-7
Genre: fiction
Lit Requirement: Picture book for older readers

This true story is about an African American boy named Kojo. He received a small amount of his mother's loan and with it he buys a hen. This book takes us through Kojo's hen raising experience. Kojo and his family started very poor and then he works his way up to being well off. He raises 25 chickens and becuase of that he made it back to school
Rachel Doran
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is beautifully illustrated. This book is about a young boy Kojo who takes a small bit of a loan from his mother to buy a hen. From this hen, big things begin to happen for him and his family. He buys 3 more hens and goes to college with the money he has made from the hens. He uses what he has learned in college to buy a field, which provides jobs for his village. This book just shows that when you put your mind to something it can be done. You could also use this book to show different ...more
Lindsey P
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is AWESOME for real life cultures that occur today to relate to young children going through similar situations today. Being informed through a young boys point of view on what his life is like and the struggle he endures was very effective for the readers to connect to the book without being bored. The authors style is informal and relaxed yet I found it quite beneficial this way to be suitable for the intended listeners. When reading throughout the book it portrays plenty of ...more
Luisa Knight
This book can serve as a culture study, showing how even young children can play a big role in their family's financial needs, and also as an entrepreneurial study too. Kids will see how wise choices, working hard, and responsibility can make a big difference in their life.

Ages: 5 - 9

#geography #africa #ghana

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I loved this book! The illustrations were bright and eye catching and the story was wonderful. Not only is this book a great way to teach children about life in another country, but it is an excellent example of how one small thing can make a big impact. I also really liked the focus on assessing your situation, making a plan and then working hard to achieve your desired results.

The end gives a little bio about the individual the book was based on and what you can do to help others. It is a
Mr. Canning
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this story. It is great for showing children the virtues and benefits of capitalism. A child in Ghana gets a loan from his mother to buy a hen. He gets one and uses the eggs to pay back his mother then keeps saving his mother to buy more hens and pay for his schooling. His eggs also help other people in his village that he sells to. This sets him on a course to become one of the largest farmers in West Africa. Really describes how small, microloans are helping the poor throughout the ...more
Esther Westfall
This was an excellent book. My kids loved looking at the pictures while they listened to me. They also took turns counting how many eggs and hens were in some of the pictures. They were impressed that a little boy managed to transform his whole village from a bunch of little mud huts into a thriving community when he only started out with one little hen. It was definitely a learning experience for them to see what a little bit of ingenuity and drive can accomplish. I would definitely recommend ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Based on the true story of one man's life in Ghana. A young boy's dad died and he has to leave school to help his mother survive. The villagers pool small amounts of money and use it in turn to purchase something to make a living. When his mother's turn comes, she has a little money left after purchasing a cart. He uses it to buy one hen. The rest of the book shares the story of how he created the largest farm from that one hen.
Information about this man follows the story along with text about
Brianna Williford
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ed-230h
Milway, K.S. (2008). One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference. Toronto: Kids Can Press. Milway explains how one small loan given to a boy in Ghana can make a large difference later in his life. She uses maps and contextual information throughout the book to explain where the boy is and what he is going. It would be a wonderful book in the classroom, though maybe too involved visually for a read-aloud.
Xavier Juarez
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference is based off of true events. Kojo deals with tragedy, hope, and determination in order to become the person he is today. The illustrations provide a beautiful depiction of the fall-like colors on the farmland while showing quality features of Ghana. This can be used in your classroom for the concept of borrowing money from the bank means you have to pay it back and ways on how you can help your own community.
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of Kojo and his hen captures the reader's attention. The swirling script on each page spread also underscores the cause and effect relationships at work in the story.
This book can be a starting point for students to learn about entrepreneurship and inspire them to see how borrowing money to generate more money is superior to amassing consumer debt.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really like the original way that the author used to solve a problem!
This story proves that little things can sometimes solve the big things!
Who knew that a hen could bring joy in a poor boy’s life. If i talk about myself, i wouldn’t come up with a ‘HEN SOLUTION’. When i read the book, the idea was so optimistic.
I am excited to check out other stories from Katie Smith!
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