Sunday, December 1, 2019

It's a No-Money Day written and illustrated by Kate Milner

It's a No-Money Day 
written and illustrated by Kate Milner
Barrington Stoke, 2019, 32 pages
The first Kate Milner book I read, My Name is Not Refugee, was about what life would be like when a young boy and his mother leave their homeland and journey to a safer country. The honest simplicity of both text and illustration of that book made it a powerful story for helping young readers understand and have empathy for the complexity that is the refugee crisis. 

Now, Kate Milner has written another powerful picture book about different humanitarian crisis - poverty. The story begins when a young unnamed girl wakes up hungry one morning and all there is for her to eat is a piece of toast, leaving nothing for her mother to have. It is, she explains, a no-money day for her and her mom, which also means it is a no-food-in-the-house day. 

And even though the child knows her mother works hard for what they need, sometimes there just isn't enough money for everything. And a no-money day means a trip to the local food bank. It's clear the mother is humiliated to have to do this, but her daughter doesn't mind. At the food bank, she can eat biscuits and tell the lady who helps out all about the kitten she's going to get...someday. Back home, a day that begins hungry ends with full tummies, thanks to the kindness of others. 

Poverty and hunger aren't usually the kind to topics that end up in a children's picture book, but it is important for kids who are more fortunate to have a window into the lives of those who are not so blessed, a lesson in charity, compassion, and understanding. And It's a No-Money Day succeeds in doing just that, without preaching. The story is simply told in spare text, but accompanied with textured line images, some full page, some only spot illustrations, and all subtly colored in drab hues. Milner has used the expressions on the faces of mum and daughter to illustrate their feelings - mum's emotions range from shame, and sadness to love for and playfulness with her child. Her daughter's emotions are more cheerful and reflect the hope she feels for the future. 

It's a No-Money Day is a poignant book that should be read by everyone, especially now during the holiday season, when food banks traditionally run out of food quickly because donations are down. 

The book is recommended for all readers
This book was purchased for my personal library 

🎄And since it is the holiday season, I thought I would share something that a cousin sent to me. I don't know where it came from, but I really like it. It is a different kind of Advent Calendar. The idea is simple: take a cardboard box and place a food item in it for every day up until Christmas Eve day, then take the box to a local food bank and donate it. For me, Christmas is always about Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All People, and I think this really epitomizes that.

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