Beatrice’s Goat (by Pat McBrier; illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter) is an inspiring story about a young girl in Uganda who uses the profits from the milk of her family’s new goat to attend school for the first time. The book is based on a true story of a Ugandan family who received a goat through Heifer International.
Throughout this story, readers are warmed by the powerful drive shown by Beatrice to provide for her family. The readers also become informed of Beatrice’s desire to attend school although she understands that her family does not have the money to allow this. Even after the family receives the goat and begins to make money from the milk, Beatrice understands that the well-being of the family must come before her education. However, her mother definitively states that Beatrice’s education is the most important use of the money. Beatrice is exuberant.
We believe this would be an effective book for 3rd and 4th graders to provide an introduction to diversity of cultures and the issue of poverty worldwide. The book could also be a launching point for a more in-depth discussion of poverty and issues of aid and sustainability. This type of analysis would be more appropriate for grades 4-6.
“School?” Beatrcie gasped in disbelief. “But what about all the other things we need?”
“First things first,” Mama said.
This quote encapsulates the idea that while free education is not universal, the importance of learning is.
Post by Blair Perry and Derek Reinhold