Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, grew up in the highlands of Kenya, where fig trees cloaked the hills, fish filled the streams, and the people tended their bountiful gardens. But over many years, as more and more land was cleared, Kenya was transformed. When Wangari returned home from college in America, she found the village gardens dry, the people malnourished, and the trees gone. How could she alone bring back the trees and restore the gardens and the people?
Bill McKibben, author ofThe End of Nature, says: "Wangari Maathai's epic story has never been told better--everyone who reads this book will want to plant a tree!"
With glowing watercolor illustrations and lyrical prose, Claire Nivola tells the remarkable story of one woman's effort to change the fate of her land by teaching many to care for it. An author's note provides further information about Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement. In keeping with the theme of the story, the book is printed on recycled paper.
Grades K-3. Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her environmental and human rights achievements. Founder of the Green Belt Movement, she has encouraged people to repair their economy, land, and health with simple, environmentally friendly acts, such as planting more trees. This beautiful picture-book biography echoes the potent simplicity of Maathai’s message with direct, spare prose and bright, delicate watercolors. Tracking forward from Maathai’s childhood in the rich landscape of Kenya’s highlands, the words and pictures clearly show how the activist’s deep connection with nature as a youth inspired her to develop sustainable practices as an adult. Nivola writes about potentially complex, abstract relationships, such as those between ecological preservation and human health, with clear language that shows connections that children will easily grasp. The story of how each human and tree can make a difference will inspire young people, who will want to linger over the wide, double-page landscapes picturing people restoring stripped land to green, thriving communities and forests. An author’s note offers more about Maathai’s inspiring story. Point teachers and parents seeking more information to Maathai’s autobiography, Unbowed (2006), which was named a Booklist Adult Editor’s Choice.