Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai

Claire A. Nivola / Jan 17, 2020

Planting the Trees of Kenya The Story of Wangari Maathai Wangari Maathai winner of the 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 peo

  • Title: Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
  • Author: Claire A. Nivola
  • ISBN: 9780374399184
  • Page: 241
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 and land was cleared, Kenya was transformed When Wangari returned home from college in America, she founWangari 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 and 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.

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    About "Claire A. Nivola"

      • Claire A. Nivola

        Claire Nivola writes I was born in 1947 in New York City When I was a year old my parents bought an old farmhouse in The Springs on Long Island the seashore town that appears in Elisabeth FSG The country, as it still was then animals being read to and reading were among the passions of my childhood The daughter of an artist father and mother, I drew and sculpted from earliest childhood and took art for granted, like breathing and walking I was also a conscientious student After attending Radcliffe College, where I majored in history and literature, I stayed in the Boston area for ten years Soon after graduating, in 1970, I illustrated my first children s book My father had been asked by Fabio Coen, head of children s books at Pantheon and a fellow Italian, if he would illustrate The Disobedient Eels and Other Italian Tales by Maria Cimino My father gave the job to me Over the next eight years, Fabio Coen asked me to illustrate The Messy Rabbit, written by my mother Ruth Nivola, and Save the Earth by Betty Miles, a book on ecology whose editor, a young woman named Frances Foster, was in the office next door at Knopf During those years I also tried my hand at mural painting and graphic design, and occasionally exhibited my paintings and sculptures in private and group shows I did all this as an extension of how I had grown up, with little idea of building a career In 1980 I moved back to Manhattan and joined the art department at Newsweek magazine In 1982 I married, a year later my son was born, and three years after that, my daughter Being a mother absorbed my heart and intellect Unlike many of my contemporaries, I stayed home with my children and did little work of my own When they were older, in 1992, as a rare exception, I took on a commission for fifty three bas relief panels telling the story of man s changing relationship to the Tennessee River for the Chattanooga Aquarium I worked on a raised table in the playroom off the kitchen after my children went to bed at night and my children often commented on panels before they were shipped out for casting In 1994, great good fortune chanced to put me back in touch with Frances Foster, now, twenty years later, a revered children s book editor I illustrated for her Tell Me a Real Adoption Story Knopf by Betty Jean Lifton, and since she has moved to Farrar, Straus Giroux with her own imprint, we have worked together on four books Elisabeth, my telling of my mother s story of her childhood doll The Mouse of Amherst FSG by Elizabeth Spires, and my own two books, The Forest FSG and Planting the Trees of Kenya The Story of Wangari Maathai Amherst FSG Frances has been my invaluable friend and inspiration In recent years, I have also worked with publishers in Boston, illustrating The Friday Nights of Nana by Amy Hest for Candlewick Press, and for Houghton Mifflin, The Flag Maker by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and The Silent Witness by Robin Friedman Having spent many years reading, often than once, the books I loved as a child to my own children, and discovering new ones, my appreciation for the best of children s literature has only grown Writing for children is a serious business Even if the result is to delight one s small readers, the words and images are destined to become a vivid and lasting part of a child s live experience.


    908 Comments

    1. This is the a beautiful and inspiring story of Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement. But, first and foremost, Wangari loves trees, nature, and the harmony that sings when humans work in rhythm with their environment--and this love, which began in her childhood, is what inspired her in everything else. I think this story is so powerful not only because it shows us a truly outstanding woman--but it shows how we [...]


    2. This is a gem of a book. The illustrations made me so happy and this non-fiction book is truly inspirational.I love this book’s illustrations. I have a special fondness for intricate drawings of tiny (on the page) plant life. The trees and crops shown here are so beautiful, as are the people, the dog, the whole classroom that’s shown, and I was enchanted on almost every page. I could be happy viewing over and over those miniature plants and trees. Just lovely!The true story is just wonderful [...]


    3. I read this short children's book 3 years ago when it came out, but it has not been added to my list until today. Wangari Maatha was a personal hero of minee died yesterday in Kenya after a long battle with ovarian cancer. I was a freshman when Wangari was a senior at the small Catholic college we attended in Atchison, Kansas. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, I was excited and proud! She was beautiful, inside and out, and this little book is a true gem is only a very simple and brief [...]


    4. 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. She set about bringing the trees back and restoring t [...]


    5. Planting the Trees of Kenya is an account for young readers of the life and work of Wangari Maathai, Founder of the Green Belt Movement. Nivola explains the environmental issues in a simple, non-politicized manner, focusing on the relationship between people and local ecology and the virtues that enabled Maathai and other Kenyan women to restore the forests: hard work, independence, patience, determination. The story also encourages readers to think about ways they can make a difference on a loc [...]



    6. The story is a wonderful story that I think needs to be shared. I had no idea who Wangari Maathai was before reading this book. The book tells Wangari's story of growing up in Kenya as a wonderful experience where her community honored their land and tree diversity. It then flashes forward to Wangari attending college in America at Benedictine College only to return to Kenya and find her country had vastly changed. Wangari began a tree planting campaign and won a Novel Peace Prize for her work. [...]


    7. Beautifully illustrated, with simple text in picture book format that tells how Wangari, the first women from Africa to receive the Nobel Peace Prize came to found the Green Belt Movement in 1977 in her native Kenya. When she left for college in America, her country was lush with trees, clear streams and small family gardens and livestock. When she returned in 1966, three years after Kenya gained its independence from Britain, the landscape was considerably different. Trees had been cleared for [...]


    8. Claire Nivola's Planting the Trees of Kenya tells the story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai and her quest to bring back the trees of Kenya. This beautifully illustrated picture book follows Maathai's story from her childhood in Kenya, to her education in the United States, and the founding of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya in 1977. In 2004, Maathai was the first woman from Africa to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in teaching Kenyan women to plant trees and reclaim their land. [...]


    9. This book is the story of a girl who grew up in Kenya with luscious land full of plants and trees, and her return to Kenya and the changes she makes. Her name is Wangari Maathai and she has returned home after living in America to attend college. She comes back to find that the land is dry, her people are malnourished and the land is cleared of most of the trees. She decides that she is going to make a change and begin the Greenbelt Movement by planting trees. She does this so that the health of [...]


    10. The story of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya which focuses on environmental issues. This book describes the dramatic change undergone by Kenya in the first decade of independence from British rule and the pending environmental disaster created as farmers abandoned traditional methods of farming, cut down all the trees, and enlarged their holdings in order to grow more cash crops. When Wangari Maathai returned to Kenya from college in the United S [...]


    11. • This book is beautifully illustrated and tells the story about one woman’s desire to educate those around her to care for their land. The land was once lush, but the land was being cleared, and people did not know how to take care of it. Once this woman teaches them how to tend to the land, it may begin to be beautiful once again.• Teachers may use this for English, Geography, History, Biology• Grades K-3• Individual students may read this book then write a summary on the events in t [...]


    12. I enjoyed this picture book biography. I liked the illustrations, and the text is informative. Wangari Maathai's story is interesting. I knew basically nothing about Kenya. There are a few minor discussion points, nothing that's dwelt on. It mentions in the extra biographical info at the end that there's a problem with "ever-expanding population dependent on ever-shrinking natural resources," just in passing. It also mentions in the main text that the fig tree was sacred, meaning that it was to [...]


    13. This book made me cry but in a good way.What a beautiful story, made more so because it is one based on the true life of Wangari Maathai. There are so many layers to this book, text and illustrations, I think you could read it repeatedly and get something new from it every time.The world needs more people like this. The world needs more books like this. What a joy to read this story. What a joy to learn that people are planting trees and caring for the world this way, even when the odds were aga [...]


    14. The story of the movement created by Wangari Maathai, are accompanied by unique illustrations, composing a book which is an amazing finding. With it, the reader can feel as Maathai did when "her heart was filled with the beauty of her native Kenya", and feel it break page by page as its land becomes a desolate scenery. The bare soil, nonetheless, sprung Maathai to think not only of herself, as she had learned at the university, but at the world beyond herself. Her perseverance changes Kenya, as [...]


    15. I absolutley loved this book and the message that was being told. Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola is the story of Wangari Maathai who notices changes occurring in the place she calls home. There are more people, and not enough food to feed everyone. Instead of being like everyone else, Wangari wants to make a change and be a solution to the problem. Wangari teaches those around her to use the seeds of other plants to grow new ones and from that they are able to feed the entire po [...]


    16. Giant 2 page illustrations show little Wangari Maathai falling in love with trees. The book follows her to college in the US and then back to Kenya. The large scale of the images helps to underscore the environmental disaster that is plaguing her country. Half way thru the book she asserts herself as leader and the images become medium shots. A quite simple way to tell her moving story. A 2 page authors note tells her story in more detail.




    17. Beautiful Story. I had not heard of this remarkable woman. A story that needs to be told!Also a lovely picture book with lovely illustrations.


    18. This is the story of a woman who leaves Kenya, her home country, to go to school in the U.S. After she graduates and returns to Kenya she finds out her country has been demolished along with most of the trees and plants for crops. She sets out to teach everyone how to plant seeds and help them grow, so they can regrow everything they have torn down. The illustrations are watercolors but green is purposely used more to symbolize the life that thrives in Kenya. I think this book would be great for [...]


    19. This is the story of Wangari Maathai, an environmental activist who became the founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Wangari grew up on a farm in Kenya that can best be visualized through the detailed descriptions mentioned at the beginning of the story. When Wangari leaves her native Kenya to attend college, she eagerly returns 5 years later to a sight much different than her memories. The beautiful landscape that had once shaped Wangari had vanished, and the peo [...]


    20. Summary: Wangari Maathai tells her story of growing up surrounded by green in the farm hills of central Kenya. All kinds of trees covered Kenya and the streams were filled with fish. Wangari tells us about the sacred fig tree and how they were not to disturb the tree or take anything away from the tree for their own benefit. Wangari eventually left for college in America very far away from her home in Kenya. At college she had the opportunity to study biology and she dreamed of making the world [...]


    21. Wangari Maathai tells her story of growing up surrounded by green in the farm hills of central Kenya. All kinds of trees covered Kenya and the streams were filled with fish. Wangari tells us about the sacred fig tree and how they were not to disturb the tree or take anything away from the tree for their own benefit. Wangari eventually left for college in America very far away from her home in Kenya. At college she had the opportunity to study biology and she dreamed of making the world a better [...]


    22. Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A Nivola Planting The Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A Nivola, is the picture book story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Maathai recounts what life was like in Kenya when she was a young girl. There was respect for the land and traditions. Maathai came to the US to attend college, during which time Kenya gained its independence from Great Britain. During the years she was gone, land th [...]


    23. My husband borrowed a few books illustrated by Claire Nivola from the library, and I liked the way they looked and read them as well. This is one of many picture book biographies of Wangari Maathai, who was a popular subject for early elementary school book reports when I was working in the library, but I found it more memorable and more beautifully illustrated than many of the others. I like the small details in Nivola's pictures and the fact that most of them are sweeping two-page spreads focu [...]


    24. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari MaathaiMain Characters: Wangari MaathaiPOV: Third PersonSummary: “Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai,” written by Claire A. Nivola, is the happy tale of the life of Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Nivola begins the Maathai’s story by describing and illustrating the land of Kenya, Africa in the days of Maathai’s childhood, full of all kinds of trees and fresh streams. Maathai then travels to America to [...]


    25. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola is a Teacher's Choice Award book from 2009. Main character, Wangari leaves her home of Kenya where the fig tree is sacred and everyone grows their own food to America where she goes to a college ran by Benedictine nuns. She finds inspiration there and when returning back to Kenya, she sees that everything has completely changed and their lives have become a struggle. To change it all around, Wangari taught the people o [...]


    26. Wangari Maathai was born in the highlands of Kenya, an area that was covered with green plants, strong fig trees, and clear running streams. Wangari attends college in Kansas, and she returns to her homeland five years later to see a dramatic change. Streams are murky and low, people have become less healthy, and the trees have been cut down, leaving the land parched and brown. Wangari realizes that it’s within her power and the power of her community members to make a change. Wangari teachers [...]


    27. This book is a biography written as a picture book about Wangari Maathai’s life and work. Maathai is women who spent her life promoting conservation of natural resources in Kenya, Africa. The book starts out by describing Maathai’s childhood in a farming community in Kenya. It goes on to describe her formal education in the United States and her work when she returned to Kenya. Maathai worked hard to teach her people to conserve their resources, plant trees and crops, and once again become t [...]


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