In my search for mentor texts for our next nonfiction investigation, narrative nonfiction, I found Mimi’s Village: And How Basic health Care Transformed It written by Katie Smith Milway, and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes. Set in a village in Western Kenya, this is the story of Mimi’s family. Their youngest, Mimi’s sister Nakkissi, becomes ill drinking dirty water, and the family makes the long walk to the nearest clinic in order to find treatment to save her. Through this visit they learn about vaccinations and simple health care measures that can keep their family healthy – measures that could benefit their entire village, if it only had a clinic of its own. So, Mimi’s father works with village elders to make this possible.
This lovely story is based on what the author learned from her work in Africa with Food for the Hungry, as she writes:
Mimi’s fictional village is like thousands of villages in the developing world, where health care, especially among infants and children, is poor to uneven. As a result, every day, 21,000 children under the age of five die, most of them from diseases that could have been prevented with basic health care.
Mimi’s story is beautifully illustrated, and the last few pages serve as a wonderful resource for the work that is being done in developing countries to ensure that families have access to basic health care: “A Real Village Health Worker” profiles Felina Maiya in Zambia, “How You Can Help” details the ways in which one can contribute, “Why is Basic Health Care So Important?” details the threats to children’s health in the developing wold and the measures being taken to mitigate these.
There is also a resource filled blog
with further readings as well as videos of an author interview and reading of the book – great for classroom tie-ins.
Here’ how the author’s website describes this engaging book:
In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have come up with ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?
From Sybilla Masters, the first American woman with a documented invention (although the patent had to be in her husband’s name), to twelve-year-old Becky Schroeder, who in 1974 became the youngest girl to receive a patent, Girls Think of Everything tells the stories of these women’s obstacles and their remarkable victories.
I was enthralled, mostly because these were women of whom I’d never heard, and inventions that I found I always use – White Out, for instance! I loved the way the author uses direct quotes to allow the reader insight into the personalities of these remarkable women, and the whimsical collage-like illustrations are just lovely to examine on their own.