Neema is a bright young girl living in Kenya who wants to be a teacher, scientist, or inventor when she grows up. She has big dreams but in impoverished countries where money is scarce, earnings are used for survival and there is little left for school fees and uniforms. Neema makes a plan to work hard and save coins in her dream basket so one day, her dream of an education can come true.
Mehrokht Amini’s colorful illustrations and author, Patricia Newman’s lyrical text (“the dusty path unwinds like a cheetah’s tail”) take us to the Kenyan countryside and the world of this determined young lady named Neema.
The questions and activities at the back of the book will lend a hand in getting children involved beyond the picture book:
5 Reasons to Share Neema’s Story with a Child
- Neema’s story can be used as a discussion springboard for equal access to education.
- Introduce your students to other students around the world.
- An eye-opener! An education is not to be taken for granted.
- Through Neema’s example, kids will learn about hard work and perseverance.
- To celebrate that dreams sometimes do come true!
This story is a work of fiction, but it is based on the lives of Jambo Jipypa students. Click the link below to read about the author’s inspiration and passion to write Neema’s Reason to Smile.
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Neema’s Reason to Smile
written by Patricia Newman
illustrated by Mehrokht Amini
Published by Lightswitch Learning