Monday, December 08, 2008

Wangari's Trees of Peace

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
by Jeanette Winter
Harcourt, 2008
review copy provided by the publisher

Carol said it well:  
"I want my sons and the kids I teach to understand that heroes aren't necessarily people who ride in limousines, or make lots of money, or have been gifted with athletic ability. Instead, I want them to understand that heroes are ordinary people who show extraordinary courage and character in the face of difficult situations."
Jeanette Winter, who also wrote THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA, teaches us about another determined woman who changes her corner of the world, one tree at a time, in her new book, WANGARI'S TREES OF PEACE.

Wangari Maathai grows up in a green, forested Kenya. When she returns to Kenya after being in America for six years of studies, "Wangari sees women bent from hauling firewood miles and miles from home. She sees barren land where no crops grow." First she begins planting and tending baby trees, then she starts a tree farm. Next she involves village women in the planting efforts. The word spreads. "The government men laugh." The women ignore them and keep planting. Wangari is jailed for protesting the destruction of old trees. The women keep planting.

Between 1977 and 2004, "thirty million trees had been planted, six thousand nurseries existed in Kenya, the income of eighty thousand people had been increased, and the movement had spread to thirty African countries--and beyond."

In 2004, Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jeanette Winter, please bring us more stories of hope and heroes like Wangari and the librarian of Basra.

other reviews:
The New York Times (along with PLANTING THE TREES OF KENYA by Claire A. Nivola, FSG, 2008 -- another picture book about the same woman)


  1. I knew that story would make a great kid's book one day and I'm so glad Jeanette Winter was the one to do it!

  2. Thanks for highlighting this book. It sounds fabulous, and, as huge fans of Jeanette Winter, we will be sure to get our hands on this book!

  3. I read this to my boys just yesterday, and, not unexpectdly, sniffed quite a lot...


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