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  • Kim Bogren Owen

Fighting for an Education: Books about the Challenges Children Face Going to School

School is starting!

Whoo-hoo say the parents, boo-hoo say the kids!

Children here tend to take school for granted. It is just something you do that keeps you away from the things you really want to do, but that is not true in other parts of the world and even for some here in this country.

Here are few books about the trials children go through just to receive an education and the hope that education symbolizes. These books help remind all of us, including your child, about the value of an education and the incredible privilege we have in our country.

Armando is excited in when Senor David returns to teach on a blue tarp in Armando and the Blue Tarp by Judith Pinkerton and Josephson Hernan, but his parents say he can't go because he needs to help them work in the dump picking trash. However, his parents soon recognize that school can be a way out for Armando so they let him attend. A fire that destroys his home ultimately becomes a blessing as it brings attention to the plight of the garbage pickers and finally allows them to get a school building. A great book for helping children realize the value of an education.

Beatrice's Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum by Karen Lynn Williams and Wendy Stone tells about the life and schooling of girl living in the Kibera slum.Using photographs of the slum and her school, this book accurately depicts a day Beatrice's life. A nice example of what school means to those trying to escape poverty.

I have recommended Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson and Benny Andrews before, but its theme resonates so well with this topic that I thought I would include it again. Benny saw education as a means to escape working in the fields and to following his dreams. As a result he succeeded as an artist, educator, and civil rights advocate.

After Nasreen's parents go missing, she lives with her grandmother and withdraws into herself. Her grandmother, realizing that education is the way out, sends Nasreen to a secret school for girls. There she slowly opens up again and discovers the world in Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter. A great book about the struggles children around the world have getting an education and the fact that in many parts of the world girls are not seen as needing an education. Talk about what it would feel like to have to keep your education a secret as many children, particularly girls, do around the world. . In Rain School by James Rumford, a boy starts his first day of school unsure of what will happen.

However, the older children show him exactly what happens which includes building their school! After the school years ends, the school is washed away by the rains but the learning the children gathered there stays with them!

With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School by Suzanne Slade and Nicole Tadgell tells the story of Booker T. Washington's life and how he ended up building a school. I have, also, recommended this book before, but thought it was worth mentioning again as it is a wonderful reminder that not that long ago not everyone could get an education in the US. Give your child boxes so they can build their own school. Once it is built offer school props, such as a black board, pencils, and paper for them to have their own school.

Finally, read Dreams Around the World by Takashi Owaki to share stories of the dreams children hold for themselves when they grow up. Talk about the ways education will help them, even if they don't have a degree. For example, being able write an ad, add to create an invoice, or think about ways they can make their work more efficient. Have your child create a vision board for themselves in words (if they are too young to write let them dictate to you) and pictures about what they want to be when the grow up and how school will help them get there.

As always, I hope you enjoy these books! You are welcome to use this blog, in whole or part, with credit to Kim Bogren Owen and Words Reflected. Please add your recommendations for additional books about the challenges many face trying to go to school in the comments.

(This blog uses the Amazon affiliate program so when you click on the title and purchase through Amazon, you are supporting us! If you don't purchase through these links, please, be sure to support your independent, local bookstore and tell this blog referred you or find them at your library!)

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