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Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa    by Jeanette Winter order for
Wangari's Trees of Peace
by Jeanette Winter
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai's dedication to environmentalism is the theme of this picture book. Wangari, a native Kenyan, studied in America, and when she returned to her homeland, she saw that her village was stripped of trees; they were cut down for construction of buildings, but no one had replanted. The land was barren; crops could not grow, which forced the women to walk miles from their home to find food and take care of their families.

Dismayed, Wangari planted a few trees in her backyard. The seedlings that grew also planted an idea in her mind: 'Next, Wangari convinces the village women that planting trees is a good thing. She gives each one a seedling. "Our lives will be better when we have trees again. You'll see. We are planting the seeds of hope."' Despite hardships and roadblocks, including an arrest, she managed to lead a literal green movement that resulted in Kenya being reforested.

This book may inspire young people to take care of their planet; it is presented in an understandable format with simple language and block-style illustrations. If this book piques the interest of your child, another children's book about Wangari Maathai, released earlier this year, is Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola.

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