USBBY Outstanding International Book Pick: Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot

Wangari Maathai said, “Trees are living symbols of peace and hope.” The trees that she and her Green Belt Movement planted are more than symbols, they are the result of the hard work of the women she enlisted to replant Kenya’s forests, replenish the wildlife, and instill democracy among the people.

This simply told story begins with Wangari’s childhood at the foot of the volcano Mount Kenya where, as the oldest child in her family, her responsibility was to stay home and help her mother. But when the chance to go to school presented itself, she ran there. In the 1960s, she was awarded the opportunity to travel to the US to study, and there she saw that even in the land of the free, there were still places that black people were not welcome.

Returning home, Wangari was determined to help her people and her country. She recognized that the deforestation by plantation owners and politicians building cities was at the root of her country’s devastation. Her courage and confidence carried her through obstacles thrown up by her adversaries.

Aurélia Fronty’s beautiful illustrations show readers the color and diversity of Wangari’s Africa–the green trees and the flowering trees full of birds, monkeys, and other animals; the roots that dig deep into the earth; and the people who work and live on the land. Wangari Maathai changed the way the world thinks about nature and ecology, and about freedom and democracy.

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
Franck Prévot, Aurélia Fronty (Ill.)
Translated from the French by Dominique Clément
2015, Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1580896269

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