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A Calf Named Brian Higgins book cover that shows a girl with flowing brown hair and a man next to a cow in the background. It reads "A Calf Named Brian Higgins Kristen Ball" above the girls head.

Young teen 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. 

Published by Red Chair Press.

Now available for dyslexic readers and in large print!

(To support community businesses, please ask for A Calf Named Brian Higgins in a local bookstore near you.)

Praise for A Calf Named Brian Higgins

"A Calf Named Brian Higgins is a fantastic novel to introduce children to heavy and challenging topics, such as poverty or entitlement, in a simple and engaging way. It’s essential for children to be exposed to several cultures and walks of life, and reading this novel with them and discussing it would be a great starting point."

Literary Titan

Awards for A Calf Named Brian Higgins

Golden circular emblem reading: "BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARDS WINNER"
Black and gold circular emblem reading: "LITERARY TITAN BOOK AWARD".

Literary Titan Book Awards: Literary Titan Gold Award

navy blue compass with words surroung it reading: "NORTHERN LIGHTS BOOK AWARDS"

Northern Lights Book Award:

Gold Level, pre-teen cultural category

Bronze emblem with two peoples' silhouettes with words above them reading: "MOONBEAM CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD"
Golden emblem with a shell in the middle reading: "NAUTILUS BOOK AWARDS WINNER"

Nautilus Book Award:

Gold Level, Middle Grade Fiction

Book Excellence Award:

Global Celebration of Literary Excellence

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award: Bronze Level, pre-teen fiction

Find Kristen's Literary Titan interview here!

Learning Resources

Offerings from the Author

School/Classroom Presentations

Kristen presents her experience living in rural Kenya and writing A Calf Named Brian Higgins at school assemblies and to full grade levels and individual classrooms. She engages groups of students and works with teachers and administrators to align her presentations with the goals and objectives of each individual school.

Writers' Workshops for the Classroom and Home

Kristen uses her experience writing A Calf Named Brian Higgins to design writers' workshops to develop confident writers and foster a love of writing in her students. She inspires her students to make the world a better place by incorporating essential questions around community building, sustainability, and cultural awareness.

Books Clubs in the Classroom and Home

Kristen joins your A Calf Named Brian Higgins book club as a guest speaker where she engages with the readers by sharing her point of view as the author, leading and participating in discussions, and answering questions about living in Sauri, Kenya, the process of writing her book, and progress being made toward ending global poverty.

Author Offerings
Disc. Guide

Here is a free, downloadable discussion guide and some additional guiding questions for teachers, parents, and students to use as they read the book.

Guiding Questions:

  1. How do you engage in meaningful ways with cultures that are new to you?

  2. How do you honor the people and causes that mean the most to you?

  3. How do you measure and celebrate the progress of massive global goals such as ending poverty?

  4. How do you move forward when challenges overwhelm you?

  5. What is your role in making our world a better place?

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