Children’s Book Review: A basket full of dreams for young girls AND boys with Neema’s Reason to Smile

 “Neema’s Reason to Smile is the story of Neema, a young Kenyan girl who dreams of one day being able to afford to go to school. Slowly, and with great purpose, Neema makes a plan to save money in her dream basket and make her dream come true. One day, a mysterious young girl skips down the street wearing a red skirt and white shirt. Soon, she guides Neema all the way to a new school.”- Lightswitch Learning

Author Patricia Newman takes adult life lessons about finance and education and brings them to the forefront for children.  Without reading the book prior, I decided to read this story to three of my favorite little readers ages 4, 3, and 1.  Although the material was a bit out of reach for their age group, they enjoyed the detailed illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini.  Proving it’s never too early to introduce children to new material to test their boundaries.

Neema’s Reason to Smile follows the tale of a young girl with big dreams to attend school.  However, she needs money to cover tuition.  We watch Neema and learn that hard work and perseverance can lead to bigger and better things. Such as having independence and freedom which leads to success and power.  It’s imperative that we continue to show youngs girls AND boys that females are smart and powerful and have no boundaries for success. 

Newman says, “Neema’s Reason to Smile is a work of fiction, but it is based on the real-life students at Jambo Jipya School who understands the true power of education. I hope their story gives you reason to smile.”


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