The World’s Poorest President Speaks Out

Enchanted Lion. Jul. 2020. 40p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781592702893.
Gr 3 Up–This timely translation of a 2014 title originally published in Japan is based on a 2012 speech made by Uruguay’s 40th president, José Mujica, delivered at the United Nations’ Rio+20 Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro. Mujica, who was president from 2010 to 2015, was a simple, unassuming, and much-beloved leader. Rather than live in the presidential palace and get chauffeured around, he chose to remain on his farm with his wife and drive his Volkswagen bug, donating close to 90 percent of his salary to the poor and underprivileged. His speech on “Sustainable Development and Human Happiness” captured his audience’s attention and admiration. He questioned whether the world had sufficient resources for its seven to eight billion inhabitants to live like Western societies. Bold, graphic, digitally created illustrations complement the text from the onset of the speech, where the audience appears bored, to the standing ovation at the end. A graphic spread precedes the start of the narrative, in which Mujica’s wife reminds him to feed the chickens on the way to the Summit. Another spread depicts countless drivers in India stuck in a gridlock with noxious fumes filling the sky.
VERDICT A thought-provoking, important message for these trying times.

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