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Mara Rockliff is the author of many books for children, including THE GRUDGE KEEPER and CHIK CHAK SHABBAT (praised by Kirkus Reviews as "a warm, cozy and loving depiction of shared culinary traditions around an inviting table") as well as the award-winning picture books ME AND MOMMA AND BIG JOHN and MY HEART WILL NOT SIT DOWN. Under the pen name Lewis B. Montgomery, she wrote all twelve books in the popular Milo & Jazz Mysteries chapter book series. Rockliff is also the author of GET REAL: WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE YOU BUYING?, a tween-friendly guide to the social and environmental impact of our shopping choices, which has become required reading in middle schools across the United States and around the world.
Rockliff's public speaking experience includes TV and radio as well as bookstores, libraries, schools, children's museums, writing workshops, book festivals, and state and regional conferences for teachers and librarians. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her family. Visit her online at mararockliff.com.
Apparently during the Depression a gift of $3.77 arrived in New York City to feed the hungry. The gift was from the much poorer country of Cameroon, in Africa, where life in the villages is often a daily struggle for food and people often eat only one meal a day. While the actual story of this gift is not known, author Mara Rockliff takes this small episode and explores it in a fictionalized way for the amazing generosity it showed.
In this fictionalize account, an African girl, Kedi, hurries to school to get to sit near Teacher. But today Teacher wasn't wearing his usual smile. He tells the African children that the Depression in America is getting worse. Men and women in the "village" of New York have no work and children don't have food. It seems an odd thing for an American teacher to be telling a group of poor African children, but perhaps he was just talking, not thinking of the possible consequences.
Kedi cannot get the poor, hungry children of New York out of her mind. She feels so bad for them that her "heart will not sit down". She asks her mother for some money to give to the teacher, but Mama has none to give (although she welcomes the people of New York to come and share her yams). Kedi goes throughout the village asking each man and woman for some money for the hungry New York children, but time after time meets with disappointment. The few coins the villagers possess are needed for the tax and other expenses.
But before Kedi leaves for school the next morning, her mother hands her one small coin for the teacher. Kedi, however, knows it is too small to feed all the hungry children in New York. How can she give Teacher such a small gift? But maybe Kedi has done more good than she thought.Read more ›
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