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.

$17.95 • Hardcover • 38 Pages • Lexile: 610L

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About the Author

Author Patricia Newman’s award-winning books show kids how their actions can ripple around the world. With titles such as Neema’s Reason to Smile; Zoo Scientists to the Rescue; Sea Otter Heroes; and Plastic, Ahoy!, she hopes to empower kids to think about the adults they’d like to become.

To learn more about the author, please visit!


School Library Journal says…

“This is a lovely story about following your heart and working hard to achieve your goals. Neema’s journey is a compelling one that should engage even reluctant readers.”

Booklist says…

“Neema’s happy story is brought to life with lush multimedia illustrations that feature traditional fabric and weaving textures. Though fictional, this story is based on the author’s connections with the women at the Jambo Jipya School in the town of Mtwapa, Kenya.”

Kemie Nix, Senior Book Editor for Parents’ Choice Foundation says…

“A satisfying and enlightening story of a child’s thirst for an education. Important for children who take the opportunity to go to school for granted.”

Katherine Applegate, Newbery Medal Winning Children’s Author says…

“Lyrical and lovely, Neema’s Reason to Smile reminds us that education is the greatest gift we can give a child, and that with enough love and determination dreams sometimes do come true. Moving, important, and inspiring.”

Sherry L. Hoffman, Midwest Book Review says…

“Equipped with Depth of Knowledge questions, a handy glossary, and real-life dreams of Kenyan students, Patricia Newman inspires readers to dream and reach goals while emphasizing the necessity of education as a key to unlocking a world of opportunities.”

Emmanuel Jal, Peace activist and former child soldier says…

“You will never know the potential of any child, youth, and adult until that person is given an opportunity to acquire education. When you don’t educate the people, you’re crippling them; you are not giving them ways to fend for themselves. Neema’s Reason to Smile reinforces how education creates conscious awakening for peace to happen in ourselves and around us.”

Tanya Lee Stone, author of Girl Rising, winner of NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work says…

“With vivid, flowing prose and wonderfully vibrant characters, Neema’s Reason to Smile takes on a complicated topic—girls overcoming global obstacles to education—yet delivers a poignant example of how dreams can be realized through community. Although this tale is set in Kenya, it represents stories that unfold in real life in more than 50 countries around the world where school is not free.”

A whole child approach ensures that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

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