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Children’s Picture Books To Unpack Poverty (Church & Society)

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. These picture books introduce the complexities of poverty and how communities worldwide are creating change.

October 17, 2022

Our United Methodist Church has a long tradition of working for economic justice. This work is built on the belief that everyone deserves the resources they need to survive, thrive, and live an abundant life!

October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The United Nations campaign for this year focuses on building a future that ends poverty in a way that honors and cares for people and the planet.

In this spirit, we wanted to highlight a few books from our Sacred Worth Books collection. We hope that these books start conversations with your young reader about poverty in a way that honors individual stories and community struggles and leads to changing our world to be more just.

Rainbow Weaver

By Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrator Elisa Chavarri

The story takes place in Guatemala. Ixchel wants to learn to weave a Mayan tradition her mother, grandmother, and have held on to. Weaving helps provide for the family and community. Ixchel learns by watching and discovers a solution to her need for materials to weave by reusing plastic bags that have been discarded. Ixchel cares for the earth, beautifies her community, and practices a beautiful family tradition.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

By William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illustrator Elizabeth Zunon

William is a youth from Malawi who has an idea to improve a windmill. He uses a bicycle and other scraps from a scrap yard to make electricity for his family’s home and community.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference

By Katie Smith Milway

This book shares the story of Kojo, a small boy from Ghana whose idea to buy a hen with a small micro-loan changed his life and his community. One idea can spark change that has a significant impact as people continue to look out for one another and care for the community’s needs.

Last Stop on Market Street

By Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson

We live in a world of inequality, and so many children can see this reality because they live it. In this story, CJ and his Nana encounter their world with dignity, attentiveness, and questions. CJ encounters difference and beauty. Join CJ and Nana on the bus to Market Street!

Those Shoes

By Maribeth Boelts and illustrator Noah Z. Jones

This book can be found in both Spanish and English translations. Jeremy wants those black high tops with white stripes and looks at all the local thrift shops for them. His grandmother keeps reminding him that he will need a pair of boots for winter. He learns generosity and the difference between need and want.

Poverty and Hunger

By Louise Spilsbury and illustrated by Hanane Kai

From the Children in Our World Series, which is designed to help kids understand complex issues through research and compassion. Take time with your reader to unpack poverty. What are some root causes war, famine, displacement, natural disasters, climate change? How can we help address this global crisis? This book introduces the importance of charities that provide basic needs and the importance of schools and invites us to act.

¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A.

By Diana Cohn and illustrations by Francisco Delgado

This is a bilingual book is written in both Spanish and English. Carlos and his Mamá talk about her participation in the LA janitor protest. You can work very hard and not make enough to survive, pay for medical bills, or get any kind of break. There is strength in standing together and demanding the right to a living wage.

We have more titles related to the topic of poverty. To find those, check out our Sacred Worth Database and search the topic of poverty.