Logo IMG
HOME > ON THE BOOKSHELF > Bookshelf Detail


One Tree at a Time

Anna Lena Phillips

From%20Planting%20the%20Trees%20of%20Kenya%3A%20The%20Story%20of%20Wangari%20Maathai%20by%20Claire%20A.%20Nivola.Click to Enlarge Image"The earth was naked. For me the mission was to try to cover it with green." These words begin a new picture book about the woman who wrote them, Nobel laureate, environmentalist and human rights activist Wangari Maathai. Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa (Harcourt, $17, ages 3 to 8) tells the story of Maathai's efforts to reforest Kenya and empower Kenyan women. Award-winning writer and illustrator Jeanette Winter's clear text and bold paintings (right) make it easy to imagine the story of Maathai and the women of the Green Belt Movement she started.

These women's efforts in the face of develop­ment insensitive to the land, and as part of a popu­lation in need of food, firewood and water, are also brought to life in Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, by Claire A. Nivola (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.95, ages 5 to 10). There's plenty to discover in the intricate pen-and-watercolor illustrations (right); the text is more detailed and will engage older children. Nivola's book is especially good at showing the hard work of the movement—replanting when seedlings died, digging deep holes to find water for the trees.

Both Winter and Nivola convey some of Maathai's struggle, including time she spent in prison, without making it too scary. And the publishers have both seen fit to print these books on 100 percent recycled paper. Children will be inspired by the story of how one woman and one action—planting a tree—raised awareness, started a movement and changed the physical and social landscape of a nation. With their simple narratives and riveting artwork, these books suggest the question, If she could do it, why not me?—Anna Lena Phillips

» Post Comment


Connect With Us:

    Pinterest Icon Google+ Icon Twitter Icon Facebook Icon Sm

Pizza Lunch Podcasts

African Penguins"Penguins are 10 times older than humans and have been here for a very, very long time," said Daniel Ksepka, Ph.D., a North Carolina State University research assistant professor. Dr. Ksepka researches the evolution of penguins and how they came to inhabit the African continent.

Because penguins have been around for over 60 million years, their fossil record is extensive. Fossils that Dr. Ksepka and his colleagues have discovered provide clues about migration patterns and the diversity of penguin species.

Click the Title to view all of our Pizza Lunch Podcasts!

Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

  • Sigma Xi SmartBrief:

    A free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.

  • American Scientist Update

  • An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, Science Observers and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.

  • Scientists' Nightstand

  • News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.

    To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.


Of Possible Interest

Book Review: Keeping the Holmes Fires Burning

Book Review: “The Colonel Says”

Book Review: How to Best the Beast Within

Subscribe to American Scientist