Multicultural Picture Book

Laura Powers

"Beatrice's Goat" by Page McBrier and illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter was published in 2004 by Aladdin publishers.

The read aloud is planned for third graders. "Beatrice's Goat" is a picture book about a young girl in Uganda who dreams of attending school and one day succeeds after she receives a gift that changes her families life forever. This book has been recognized for awards and charities, including:

Christopher Award Books for Young People 2002

Tennessee's Volunteer State Book Award Master List

Portion of the book sales goes to Heifer Project International

This picture book is based on the true account of Beatrice Biira, an impoverished Ugandan girl whose life is transformed by the gift of a goat from the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International. An afterword from Hillary Rodham Clinton says this book is a heartwarming reminder that families, wherever they live, can change their lives for the better.

Background Information and multicultural literature criteria for "Beatrice's Goat"

The author Page McBrier and illustrator Lori Lohstoeter were inspired to write this children's book after traveling to East Africa in 1994 to meet Beatrice Biira. In the small African village that Beatrice lived in, only children who could afford uniforms and books could go to school and Beatrice knew attending school was almost impossible given her circumstances. Beatrice was one of six children and she knew her family was much too poor to send her to school. Page and Lori beautifully recount this true story about how one child, given the right tools, is able to lift her family out of poverty. Thanks to Heifer Project International -- a charitable organization that donates livestock to poor communities around the world -- other families like Beatrice's will also have a chance to change their lives.

This book honors and celebrates diversity and is rich in cultural details by showing that not all young children are granted with the opportunity to go to school. It shows that even though this young girl is faced with the problem of not having enough money to go to school, she overcomes this issue by raising a goat and making money for herself which not many children her age would do. This book also provides in-depth treatment of cultural issues by showing that children around the world are not getting an education because of their lack of money. Beatrice's Goat shows how certain charities help out the not so fortunate families by giving them opportunities to make a living for themselves in order to go to school and provide for their families.

Procedures for "Beatrice's Goat" Read Aloud:

  1. The teacher will begin the read aloud by going through a smartboard interactive activity that reviews the vocabulary. Student's will be asked to select the word they believe works best on the smartboard activity.
  2. Then the teacher will begin reading: "I am going to read you the story 'Beatrice's Goat' which is a true story about a young girl who lives in the small village of Kisinga. Kisinga is located in western Uganda. From reading the title and looking at the picture, why do you think this author chose to write about Beatrice and her goat?"
  3. Begin reading 'Beatrice's Goat'. Once you get done reading the first page, pause and asks the student's, "Why do you think Beatrice's family lives in a new house?" Call on 2 students for a response.
  4. Continue reading onto the second page and stop after the first paragraph. "Let's look at the word tend. Tend means to look after or take care of." After you go over the word tend, place the vocab card with the word and definition up on the board for the student's to reference if they forget what the words means.
  5. Finish reading the second page and pause and ask the student's, "Raise your hand if you can tell me why Beatrice can't go to school." Call on 2 student's for a response. "Now, let's also look at the word yearned. If you yearned to do something it means you want very much to have or do something. What is something Beatrice yearned to do?" Call on 2 students for a response. Also place the vocab card for yearned up on the board.
  6. Continue reading all the way through the end of the book. "At the beginning of the story, the narrator says that 'there is one reason why Beatrice loves Mugisa most of all.' What do you think that reason is?" Call on 2 or 3 students for a response.


After doing my read aloud with the 3rd grade class I believe it went very well. Even though there are a few things I would have changed if I were to do it again, I think that overall it went very smoothly. I began my read aloud with a vocabulary review on smartboard and the student's loved it! They all did exceptional and seemed like they really understood the vocabulary words. As I read through the book the student's were very engaged and interested in the story, which made me very happy to see. They all were fast to raise their hands when I asked questions throughout the story and they all wanted to give their own input. If i were to do this read aloud again I would come up with a better closing activity in order to wrap it all up. I didn't do an exceptional job with the closing of the read aloud; however, I still think I did well overall. I selected this particular book because my CT suggested it and said that the students would have a fun time reading about this story. This story went along with the funds of knowledge for these 3rd graders because it is important for them to realize that not every child around the world is fortunate enough to go to school like they do. Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped me become more aware of these student's own backgrounds and where they are coming from. It is important for me to relate this book to my students so that they can understand the differences in countries around the world.