A Good Trade cover

By Alma Fullerton & Karen Patkau

A Good Trade

When an aid worker brings a life-changing gift to Kato’s Ugandan village, he finds something beautiful to give her in return

In a small Ugandan village, Kato wakes early to start the long, barefoot trek beyond his village and along fields dotted with cattle and guarded by soldiers. His destination is the village well, where he will pump a day’s supply of water into two jerry cans. Like every day, Kato lets the water splash over his hot tired feet before carrying his heavy load back home, where his chores await him. But this is no ordinary day. The aid worker’s truck has come to the village square, and in the back is a gift so special, the little boy rushes home to look for something to repay the aid worker.

Alma Fullerton‘s spare, lilting prose tells a deceptively simple story of one day in a little boy’s life. But in a place ravaged by a generation of civil war and drought, a village well brings life, a gift of shoes is a cause for celebration, and a simple flower becomes an eloquent symbol of peace and gratitude.

Available In


Ages 4-8
ISBN: 978-1-77278-117-5
List Price: $23.95 CAD / $18.95 USD
Hardback with reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 10.00 x 9.00 inches / 25.4 x 22.86cm
Pages: 32

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 34

Paperback / softback

Ages 4-8
ISBN: 978-1-77278-118-2
List Price: $16.95 CAD / $14.95 USD
Paperback / softback
Trim Size: 10.00 x 9.00 inches / 25.4 x 22.86cm
Pages: 32

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 80

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2014 Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2013 Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2014 White Raven Selection (Short-listed)
  • 2015 Kentucky Blue Grass Awards (Short-listed) (United States)
  • 2013 Ontario Library Association Best Bets Selection (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2013 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens (Short-listed) (Canada)
  • 2014 Bank Street Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults (Short-listed) (United States)



About A Good Trade

2014 OLA Blue Spruce Award finalist

2014 White Ravens selection

2015 Kentucky Blue Grass Awards shortlist

2013 Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award finalist

2014 Bank Street Best Books of the Year for Children and Young Adults selection

2013 OLA Best Bets selection

2013 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens selection

STARRED REVIEW “A pleasure to read aloud…Expertly crafted, Fullerton’s first picture book reminds readers of the pleasure of small things.”—Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

“The double gesture of kindness – the good trade – projects a strong spirit of generosity and gratitude, traits as universal as the appeal of a gift of cool new sneakers.”—Publishers Weekly

“The large images are full of subtle details…The text is spare and poetic…Young readers will enjoy this sweet day-in-the-life snapshot.”—School Library Journal

“In this deceptively simple and positive story of a little boy’s daily life in an African village, readers will discover subtle hints and overt references to the effects of civil war both in the quiet text and the brightly coloured digital illustrations. Thus the book will serve as a wonderful incentive to discuss this serious topic with younger and older children alike.”—The White Ravens 2013 Catalogue

“The images and text of A Good Trade complement one another to the point of poetic consistency. The text and the images are both complex and simple: concept easy, content load heavy. The prose is lyrical, playful and inviting to young listeners or readers…Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

A Good Trade is an eloquently told, beautifully illustrated, and heartfelt story.”—Resource Links Magazine

“There is much more to this gentle story than its obvious message about the hardships faced by others. The juxtaposition of happy children in a war-torn village, and the beautiful exchange between Kato and the aid worker, portray the endurance of childhood innocence, suggesting small joys can be found in imperfect places.”—Quill & Quire

“The artwork is a perfect match for Fullerton’s understated text. Together they provide an enriching insight into one boy’s life in a distant country, and the preciousness of peace and goodwill. ‘We Recommend'”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“A good story to use when discussing life in rural Africa.”—The International Educator

“The message here is clear, but delivered with a soft touch, reminding young readers that not everyone is as fortunate as they are.”—CBC Here and Now Recommendations for Children’s Books

“The beautiful pictures and the one-sentence-per-page provide great starting points for discussing life in Uganda, world help organizations, and inequity in general.”—49th Shelf

“Overall, I liked A Good Trade, and believe that it can be used to launch a discussion about gratitude and what it’s like to live in a third world country.”—Musings of a YA Reader

“Alma Fullerton’s text is rich, spare and beautifully crafted. Her narrative is strong and lyrical as she shares Kato’s daily trip to get drinking water for his family….It addresses tough issues in a hopeful and age-appropriate manner and is an excellent read-aloud for the classroom….Karen Patkau’s digitally rendered illustrations are colorful and lush. They work beautifully with the text and illuminate the message in the story.”—Children’s Books Heal


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