|Photo Credit - Amazon|
Kusiima is a thirteen year old, boy but unlike the average kids his age, he has no time for school or having fun. An orphan living with his grandmother and sister, he has to work long hours to support his makeshift family. Kusiima barely makes enough to support his aging grandmother and his sickly sister when he was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity. The owner of a prominent charcoal company asked Kusiima to accompany him to his next charcoal expedition. However, when Kusiima realizes they are entering a protected forest where it is illegal to cut down the trees, Kusiima is surrounded by several decisions. Would Kusiima do what is best for his family? Will Kusiima be able to do what is right if it means that his family would suffer?
The short story was an interesting read. It showcased a lot of problems children from third world countries face that children in the first world would take for granted. Children in the United States complain about going to school when many children in other countries don't even have the option of attending school. However, I felt like while the story had a "happy ending", there might be a lot of topics that are too dark and stressful for the target age demographics such as AIDS, abandonment, children dying from starvation, lack of health care, degradation of natural environments, and hopelessness. While, it can be a good tool to let young ones to be more aware and to show them to treat others and Mother Earth with generosity and compassion it would be better to pair this with additional conversation to overwhelm young readers.
**Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion**