Author(s): Kate Milner
Early Experiences & Issues
A poignant and pertinent exploration of life below the poverty line from the critically acclaimed award-winning creator of My Name is Not Refugee.
Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards.
Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others, but her young daughter can still see all the good in her day like reading and drawing, and even the foodbank. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.
A moving insight into the sad rise and necessity of foodbanks from the perspective of society's most vulnerable.
Lucy Black's Review:
Everyone needs to get this picture book: Schools, libraries, community groups and families need to champion this book and read, discuss and display it.
Kate Milner is the author of the award winning book My Name is Not Refugee, which explores a child's journey to a new home and spurred many discussions in classrooms and on sofas about the refugee crisis and what it means for children around the world. It's a No-Money Day tackles another crisis our society faces - poverty. It may not be in the news as often and it is far more common and domestic, but poverty is a heart breaking true crisis in Aotearoa and it has negative affects on countless kids.
This beautiful book confronts the reality of not having enough and although it never shies away from the discomfort and shame of being poor, it is not a dark book, it doesn't wallow or depress. The story is told from a small child's point of view, it is cosy, colourful and sweet like the child. So, although the mum may feel desperation and shame, those are not the key points of the story; the child is happy throughout and continually has hope and trust in Mum.
Choosing the child as the narrator ensures this book is never too heavy handed, it isn't cheesy or schmaltzy and doesn't come across as an 'issues' book. Young children can enjoy this as a simple story in itself and older children and adults can read more into the pictures and the things hinted at or left unsaid.
This is an important book for everyone to read. The kids living in poverty need to see themselves reflected on the page, they need to know they aren't alone, their families are not abnormal. The kids with more privileges also need to read this book, they need to recognise their privilege, they need to see the importance of giving and the reality of others' circumstances. Parents and caregivers need to read this too - this book is a gentle reminder about what families in our communities are going through, a reminder to be more compassionate, generous and hopeful.