One Hen

Hardcover Jacket
978-1-55453-028-1 | Feb 1, 2008 List Price:
USD $18.99, CAD $19.99

4-color • 9 x 12 • 32 pages
Grades: 3 To 7 / Ages: 8 to 12

978-1-894786-09-6 | Apr 7, 2020 List Price:
USD $10.99, CAD $12.99

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 buys a hen.

A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo’s farm grows to become the largest in the region.

Kojo’s story is inspired by the life of Kwabena Darko, who as a boy started a tiny poultry farm just like Kojo’s, which later grew to be the largest in Ghana, and one of the largest in west Africa. Kwabena also started a trust that gives out small loans to people who cannot get a loan from a bank.

One Hen shows what happens when a little help makes a big difference. The final pages of One Hen explain the microloan system and include a list of relevant organizations for children to explore.


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Educational Resources


Global awareness
Economic systems
Cultures, Local & Global Community


Guided Reading
Guided Reading Grade Level
Lexile Level
Accelerated Reader Interest Level
Accelerated Reader Reading Level



global awareness   Africa   citizenship   community   economic systems   microfinance   cause and effect   multiculturalism

Reviews & Awards


“An inviting text and bright acrylic artwork on oversize pages follow Kojo, a rural Ashanti boy, as he builds a poultry farm with a small loan.”
School Library Journal, Starred Review, October 2008

“The text and visuals work individually and together to create a compelling story that is simple without being simplistic and that avoids patronizing attitudes … the book accomplishes the rare feat of entertaining and educating … likely to be a hit with both kids and teachers.”
Quill & Quire, Starred Review, February 2008

“Bright acrylics fill this spirited picture book … a pleasing … purposeful tale about change and hope.”
San Francisco Chronicle, March 2008

“… Kojo’s inspiring, upbeat microfinance story makes the economic concept easy to grasp and admire. Sunny acrylic illustrations [and]impressionistic full-page art …”
Booklist, June 2008

“… Kojo’s story, with its vibrant illustrations, will plant more than the germ of an idea in the minds of young readers.”
Globe and Mail, February 2008

“… encourages children ages 7 and up to think about the power we each have to initiate positive changes in the world.”
Breitbart, February 2008

“Extremely appealing … beautifully illustrated in acrylics by award-winning artist Eugenie Fernandes … Highly recommended …”
Canadian Children’s Book News, May 2008

One Hen is emotionally affecting, as well as informative …”
Vancouver Sun, February 2008

“Fernandes’s large acrylic paintings … include numerous details … [and] spark the imagination. This distinguished book will enhance many curriculum areas.”
School Library Journal, Starred Review, May 2008

“The vibrant folkish art by Eugenie Fernandes bursts with color and texture and enhances this uplifting tale of the power of giving someone a chance.”
Detroit Free Press, February 2008

“… a powerful tale about the value of offering a hand up, instead of a hand out …”
Today’s Parent, April 2008

“… the beneficial effects of small loans and small projects are thoughtfully and carefully explained in the extensive text … Acrylic illustrations are vivid and lively …”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, March 2008


2010 Golden Oak Award, Ontario Library Association, Winner
2010 Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2009 Outstanding International Book, USBBY, Winner
2009 Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association, Short-listed
2009 Children’s Africana Book Award, African Studies Association, Winner
2009 Notable Book for a Global Society, International Reading Association, Winner
2009 Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner
2009 Children’s Choices, International Reading Association, Winner
2009 Norma Fleck Award, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Short-listed
2009 Best Bet for Children and Teens, Ontario Library Association, Winner
2008 Skipping Stones Honor Award, Winner
2008 Massachusetts Book Award, Winner