Featured Book:Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai

"Planting the Trees of Kenya" Book Cover
Author & Illustrator: Claire A. Nivola

I am so glad I sat down today and took a long moment to read this book. When I selected it from the library, through an online search, the words “trees” and “Kenya” caught my eye, as I hoped it would offer a widen cultural perspective on a topic that connects us all…the environment. It did much more than that. This picture book tells the life story of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Claire A. Nivola whose care for country, for people, and for environment started as a young child, and who was constantly engaged in her surrounds with wonder. This wonder took her to an American university, fueled by passion to return to her home country. Five years of absence found her homeland greatly changed, a change that would overwhelm most, however she stated, first locally and then to a nation, “Think of what we ourselves are doing. When we see that we are part of the problem, we can become part of the solution.”

As a teaching note, this book, while a picture book, is one for upper elementary+ but only due to its lengthy text. Concept-wise, it is for all.

And I should mention the obvious…this is a biographical, rather than my typical fictional stories. I go back and forth on whether to include them–but if I read a story that can connect and inspire a budding scientist…I want to share it!

Broad Science Connections

  • Trees
  • Sustainability
  • Environment
  • Land & Land Features
  • Needs of Living Things
  • Problem-Solution
  • Scientist

Broad Literacy Connections

  • Biography
  • Connections between picture and text–reading the illustrated story
  • Bringing the story to non-fiction

Broad Sociocultural Connections

  • Women in Science
  • Following a Life’s Passion
  • Identity
  • Maintaining Who You Are
  • Being the Change

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