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Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  454 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Jo Ann
Sep 27, 2011 Jo Ann rated it it was amazing
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 mine...she 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...it is only a very simple ...more
Kathryn
Mar 10, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 26, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody who cares about sustainability, the earth, people
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
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, an
...more
CH _Kenya  Walker
Mar 21, 2010 CH _Kenya Walker rated it liked it
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 ...more
Miriam
Apr 15, 2010 Miriam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, picture
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 ...more
Andee
May 04, 2016 Andee rated it it was amazing
A more detailed book for upper elementary about the life of Wangari Maathai.
Sara Ullery
Sep 29, 2016 Sara Ullery rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-reviews
• 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 the story.
...more
Q_Barb
Mar 08, 2011 Q_Barb rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll520-info-bios
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 ...more
528_Tracy
Oct 26, 2011 528_Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-international
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. ...more
Tricia Pham
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 ...more
Susan
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 ...more
Amber
Dec 03, 2015 Amber rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Susan
Sep 20, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ashley
Oct 18, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Crystal
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. ...more
Kalynda
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
...more
Cheryl
The illustrations alone deserve five stars. They're detailed, informative, and beautiful to look at. Each page is a work of art. The story is inspiring too. It's about Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan who returned to her native land after studying abroad to find the environment savaged by large plantations. She has since led a movement where over 5 million trees have been planted, and won a nobel prize for her efforts to bring an understanding of the impacts of environment to a grass-roots level. ...more
Amanda
Nov 14, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing
I've been trying to learn a short, short story, "The Hummingbird" by Wangari Maathai, and so I wanted to learn more about her life. I'm glad I read this, it added so much more to the story.
Stephanie Easton
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 ...more
Carly
Nov 27, 2013 Carly rated it liked it
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
...more
Eloise Davis
Dec 03, 2013 Eloise Davis rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
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 ...more
Elizabeth
Nov 01, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-international
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
...more
Natalie Sabbath
Oct 23, 2012 Natalie Sabbath rated it liked it
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
Main Characters: Wangari Maathai
POV: Third Person

Summary: “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 earn he
...more
Marissa Masterson
Apr 17, 2012 Marissa Masterson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eced-221
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 ...more
Leslie Morrison
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 ...more
Julie Tompkins
Jul 25, 2008 Julie Tompkins rated it it was amazing
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 the ...more
Bianca
Nov 10, 2012 Bianca rated it really liked it
Title: Planting the Trees of Kenya
Grade/interest level: Primary (k-2nd grade)
Reading level: Fountas and Pinnell, E
Genre: Information Book
Award: Jane Addams

Main Characters: Wangari Maathai
Setting: U.S. to attend College and her return to Kenya
POV: Second person

This book tells the story of Wangari Maathai who left a verdant Kenya to attend college in the U.S. Upon her return home she found the Kenyan landscape changed. Large scale tea plantations had replaced small subsistence farms. There had bee
...more
Noelle Marie
Wangari Masthai is from a farm in the hills of central Kenya. For college, Wangari travels all the way to America to a university run by Benedictine nuns where she studies biology. Here the nuns and other students taught her to not just think of herself but the world beyond herself also. When Wangari returns to Kenya her beautiful landscape had drastically changed. Her beloved fig tree was gone same as the stream and everything that lived in it. The people no longer grew their own food but ...more
Jasmine Lambert
Nov 29, 2015 Jasmine Lambert rated it it was amazing
Author Claire Nivola tells her story about Nobel Peace Prize Winner and founder of the Green Belt Movement that took place in Kenya. Wangari Maathai grew up all of her life in Kenya where the soil was rich, the streams ran fast with fish, and the land covered with green. Trees in the wooded areas, and bushels, vegetables, fruit trees, and plants in the area surrounding the town. Trees like the fig tree were sacred and to never be bothered by the people. Wangari went off to school in America when ...more
Maria Salinas
Nov 19, 2012 Maria Salinas rated it liked it
Title: Planting the Trees of Kenya
Grade/interest level: (k-2nd grade)
Reading level: F&P E
Genre: Information Book
Award: Jane Addams
Main Characters: Wangari Maathai
Setting: U.S.,Kenya
POV: Second person

The story is about Wangari Maathi the main character of the story that leaves Kenya to attend college in the United States. Wangari remembers Kenya as the place where many trees could be found, fish were found in the streams, and the people always cared for their garden. When Wangari returned ho
...more
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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 ...more
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