Mama Miti (Hardcover)

Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya

By Donna Jo Napoli, Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781416935056, 40pp.

Publication Date: January 5, 2010

Spring 2010 Kids' Next List

“Donna Jo Napoli tells the inspiring story of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai and her efforts to revive her country of Kenya. Kadir Nelson's collage illustrations convey the story beautifully.”
— Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
View the List


"Nelson's pictures, a jaw-dropping union of African textiles collaged with oil paintings, brilliantly capture the villagers' clothing and the greening landscape...This is, in a word, stunning." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Nelson's (We Are the Ship) breathtaking portraits of Maathai often have a beatific quality; bright African textiles represent fields, mountains, and Maathai's beloved trees...Napoli (The Earth Shook) creates a vivid portrait of the community from which Maathai's tree-planting mission grows." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A beautiful introduction for children just learning about the Greenbelt Movement." --School Library Journal

Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award
CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
California Collections
NAACP Image Award Nominee

Through artful prose and beautiful illustrations, Donna Jo Napoli and Kadir Nelson tell the true story of Wangari Muta Maathai, known as "Mama Miti," who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization that has empowered many people to mobilize and combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation. Today more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti's native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari Muta Maathai has changed Kenya tree by tree--and with each page turned, children will realize their own ability to positively impact the future.