The World’s Poorest President Speaks Out edited by Yoshimi Kusaba, illustrated by Gaku Nakagawa

Published by Enchanted Lion Books

The World's Poorest President Speaks Out: Yoshimi, Kusaba, Gaku, Nakagawa, Wong, Andrew: 9781592702893: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  It’s 2012, and world leaders have gathered in Brazil for the Rio+20 Summit to discuss climate change and the environmental crisis.  “One after another, they gave speeches, but no one says anything new.”  Then José Mujica, president of Uruguay, steps to the podium.  Described as “the world’s poorest president” for donating 90% of his salary to charity and choosing to live on his farm instead of in the presidential palace, Mujica questions the whole system of capitalism, asking the participants if they were really committed to living in harmony with nature, as they said, or driven by production and consumption.  “Shared human happiness is the greatest treasure of all,” he concludes.  “If we appreciate the beauty of nature and life itself and care for our world, we will be able to continue to live well as humans on this planet.”  40 pages; grades 3+

Pros:  Mujica’s speech is as timely today as it was eight years ago, and will resonate with older readers (middle school and up) at least as much as with the picture book crowd.

Cons:  The title makes Mujica sound like an object of pity when really he seems to have figured out a lot more about life and happiness than most other world leaders.

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