Review: A Calf Named Brian Higgins


Title: A Calf Named Brian Higgins
Author: Kristen Ball
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: One Elm Books
Source: Thomas Allen & Sons (book distributor)
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Thirteen-year-old Hannah Higgins is convinced her summer is ruined when she is forced to travel to Africa and work in a remote village with her mom and uncle. Never having been to a developing country, she finds the food gross and the community filthy. She has to live without electricity or running water. Then she is told she must attend school.
Just when she thinks nothing could make this trip any worse, she learns people there are dying of hunger and preventable disease. Hannah becomes frustrated and wants to help, but when poverty threatens the lives of people she loves, all she wants to do is go home. This story is an adventure of discovery.


This is an amazing book about an American girl who travels to Kenya. Hannah Higgins knew that Kenya would be a lot different from her hometown of New York, but she didn’t realize how much it would affect her. The people in the small town where her uncle works die from preventable diseases and hunger.

After a tragedy in her family, Hannah wants to leave, but then she feels guilty about not helping the people who live there. She often feels guilty about what she takes for granted at her home, like being able to go into her medicine cabinet for anything, when the people in Sauri, Kenya have to wait for their medical attention.

Hannah had to get used to living without technology. A boy in the town created a cellphone out of wood, so he would have something to play with. She thinks of an app she could create while she’s walking through a corn maze. Hannah learned a lot from the people in Kenya, including how to be compassionate.

Some parts of this story could have been more exciting. Some conversations were summarized, when they could have been written out in dialogue. This happened more at the beginning of the book. I could tell that it was based on real events because it was written like that. The writing improved as it progressed.

This was a great book! It shows the impacts one person can make on the poverty in Africa.

Have you read A Calf Named Brian Higgins? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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