Planting the Trees of Kenya
The Story of Wangari Maathai
By Claire A. Nivola
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374399184, 32pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
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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 of The 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.
CLAIRE A. NIVOLA has written and/or illustrated several books, including The Mouse of Amherst, written by Elizabeth Spires, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. She lives in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.
“Wangari’s work, as so beautifully depicted in Planting the Trees of Kenya, will inspire people worldwide.” –Pete Seeger "The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai changed the world one seed at a time. Claire A. Nivola's lovely Planting the Trees of Kenya offers Maathai's story to a younger, wider audience. No child, and surely no library, ought to be without Planting the Trees of Kenya." —Boston Globe
“A stirring biography about her extraordinary life, with focus on courageous efforts to reforest Kenya and empower women.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
"Simultaneously childlike and sophisticated...The idea of restoring ruined land to its original beauty will fill readers of all ages with hope." —Starred, Publishers Weekly "Beautiful . . . 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." —Starred, Booklist "The delicately detailed illustrations suit the equally low-key writing style...This tale of civic responsibility, personal initiative, and conservation of natural resources is a timely one." —Starred, School Library Journal
“There’s plenty to discover in the intricate pen-and-watercolor illustrations; the text is more detailed and will engage older children.” —American Scientist"Possesses a detailed, naive charm that beautifully explicates Maathai's social progress as she instructs women, schoolchildren and even prison inmates in the benefits of planting and nurturing trees...This impressive effort will resonate with children." —Kirkus Reviews "As an illustrator, Nivola . . . creates absorbing, telltale images--sweeping views of the countryside with miniature human figures, in the manner of folk paintings . . . .The whole is as much a pleasure as an inspiration." —The Horn Book “Claire Nivola gives us a wonderful story about Wangari Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and the founder of the Green Belt movement.” —Rondi Brouwer, Blackwood & Brouwer, Kinderhook, NY "Nivola's sotry delivers the idea that each of us can make a difference. Older readers will appreciate Nivola's detailed note about Maathai's life and her Green Belt Movement." —The Sacramento Bee "Wangari Maathai's story is beautifully told, is just the right length for young readers, and boasts wonderful illustrations that capture the beauty of this African country." —Book Loons