Wednesday, October 13, 2010
SEEDS OF CHANGE- JEN CULLERTON JOHNSON
"Those trees you are cutting down today were not planted by you but by those who came before. You must plant trees that will benefit the community to come, like a seedling with sun, good soil, and abundant rain, the roots of our future will bury themselves in the ground and a canopy of hope will reach the sky."
SEEDS OF CHANGE is the biography of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Maathai grew up in Kenya and attended college in the United States. When she returned to Kenya, Matthai was deeply saddened by the deforestation of her country. She started the Greenbelt Movement, a group which restored the Kenyan countryside by planting over thirty million trees. Matthai was a groundbreaker many times over-- when she was growing up, not many girls went to school, or continued on to college, or became university professors. At one point, she was even jailed by corrupt politicians more concerned about profits than reforestation. This is a well-told story with gorgeous, vibrant, richly illustrations (by artist Sonia Lynn Sadler) that beg to be closely examined.
I could use this book in a hundred ways. Our second graders are doing a science unit on trees and plants right now. Almost every day, a very serious seven-year-old reminds me that I should not cut down any trees because they give oxygen to the earth. I'll start by giving the book to them this morning. Our third graders are working on ecosystems and this book would be perfect for that unit. It's also a great biography. Or would be perfect in a unit on courage. Or change. Or the power of the individual. Or it might be fun to look for other books about Nobel Peace Prize winners and string them together. And then there are those illustrations, that just beg to be studied and imitated…