C has been working on earning the Global Action Award for Girl Scout Daisies, which uses the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “to teach Daisies about critical world issues and how they can make a difference.”
What better way to start learning about these issues than through books? There are some wonderful picture books out there that touch on (or even tackle) these heavy topics in an age-appropriate way. These topics are tough, so if you have a sensitive child, considering prescreening the books and remember, Daisies only have to complete a minimum of one activity from the requirement list in order to earn the award.
Here is the book list I came up with, each book coupled with its corresponding Millennium Development Goal and complementing the GSUSA’s Global Action Award activity for that goal. It turned out to be a pretty robust list, covering a range of subjects. Titles we didn’t read while working on the Global Action Award ended up being read later while working on other badges and/or homeschooling lessons.
|1. Ending Hunger and Poverty
One Potato, Two Potato
by Cynthia DeFeliceMr. and Mrs. O’Grady were so poor they shared one potato each day, yet “considered themselves lucky to have it.” Everything changes when they find a magic pot that doubles whatever is put in it! This book is sweet and funny, while gently encouraging children to consider what it must be like to be poor and hungry.
|2. Education opens doors
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words
by Karen Leggett AbourayaMalala’s story about exerting her right to an education has been adapted with young readers in mind in this picture book. Its compelling narrative and textured illustrations hold the reader’s attention and convey the importance of education in children’s lives.
|3. Empowering girls
One Plastic Bag
by Miranda PaulWe read this book while working on the Clover “Use Resources Wisely” petal (my review), but it is perfect for the “empowering girls” activity of the Global Action Award. If there’s any woman who knows how to rally women to “help others with your hands” and improve your community, it’s Isatou Ceesay!
|4. Helping children survive
Mimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It by Katie Smith MilwayThis fictional story portrays a number of the real, pressing dangers that face communities without access to clean water, from stomach bugs to malaria. It also gives kids ideas on how to help if they want to take action.
|5. Keeping mothers healthy
Helping Mom (Little Critter Readers)
by Mercer MayerI think the actual wording of this Millennium Development Goal starts out with “reduce the maternal mortality ratio…” Stretching that into something along the lines of “helping mom when she doesn’t feel well so she can rest up” is probably more appropriate for this age group. 😉 This beginning reader is perfect: Little Critter’s mom is sick, but she has a lot to do before extended family comes to visit. Little Critter steps in to help with the household chores.
|6. Preventing diseases
Germs Make Me Sick!
by Melvin BergerThis book is full of solid information and science facts. Children will learn how germs are spread and why it’s so important to wash our hands. Best of all, it’s engaging to the end; never tedious or dry.
|7. Saving the planet
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Picture Book Edition) by William Kamkwamba & Bryan MealerWilliam’s fascinating memoir about bringing electricity to his small village has been adapted into a picture book for young readers! At the time of this post, you can read this book for free on We Give Books.
|8. Promoting peace through partnership
At the Same Moment, Around the World
by Clotilde PerrinGSUSA has already suggested a great book (Children Just Like Me) for this development goal, but if you’re looking for something a little more literary, check out Clotilde Perrin’s At the Same Moment, Around the World. Perrin features one child in a country from each time zone around the world. The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking and will spark your child’s curiosity.
Aren’t these books fantastic?!