14 Cows for America
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14 Cows for America

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  1,485 ratings  ·  352 reviews
14 Cows for America In June of 2002, a ceremony begins in a village in western Kenya. Hundreds of Maasai surround an American diplomat to bestow a gift on the American people. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary. A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely as these legendary warriors offer t...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published August 31st 2009 by Peachtree Publishers (first published August 1st 2009)
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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce SidmanTsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
1st out of 61 books — 158 voters
Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam MansbachThe Lorax by Dr. SeussChoose Them Wisely by Najeev Raj NadarajahThe Halfwit Knight by Najeev Raj NadarajahThe Arrival by Shaun Tan
Picture books for adults
10th out of 86 books — 72 voters

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L12_Marie Schiller
Carmen Agra Deedy’s 14 Cows For American is the true heart-wrenching story of Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, an African medical student studying in New York when the twin towers burned on 911. He returns to his Maasai tribe and retells the story in the hopes that the elders will bless the cow he worked so hard to purchase for his mother but now decides to give to America. As Kimeli Naiyomah explains, his tribe taught him that, ”to heal the pain in someone’s heart, you give something that is close to yo...more
Author: Carmen Agra Deedy
Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez
Illustrations done in pastels, colored pencils, and airbrush on 100% rag archival watercolor paper.
Award(s)/Honor(s): NSSTB 2010; SSLH 2010
Grades: (Reading level: 3-5) Used as part of text set for 8th grade.

Summary: This is a moving story about a remote tribe in Kenya called the Maasai and their touching gift to America after the September 11th attacks.

Theme: This book offers its readers a look into the thoughts and sincere longing of the Ma...more
CH13_Meghan Schultz
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra details the story of Kimeli Naiyomah, a man who grew up in a small village in Kenya, but eventually moved to the United States in order to obtain a degree from Stanford University. The story details Kimeli’s journey home after the 9/11 tragedy, and his interaction with the people of his village after retelling the horrific events.

This story does a wonderful job portraying the message that all can lend aid in a time of need and that suffering of humanity is univ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
My Thoughts:

Whew! What a life-affirming story! It gives you hope for the world.
The pictures are up close and personal. The text is vivid and rings with compassion for the world.

Here’s the story, if you don’t know it: A Kenyan wins a scholarship to go to America and become a doctor. While he is there, he experiences 9/11. He returns to his people, a tribe once renowned as warriors but who are now known as master cow herders. The tribe feels great sorrow when the young man tells them of the traged...more
Nicole Isernio
This is a heartwarming story of the Maasai Tribe and the incredible gift they give to another country. Set in western Kenya, the cow is the way of life for these people and they treat them with great respect and honor. One of the tribe members, Kimeli is studying in New York City when the September 11th Attacks occurred and is decides he must do something to help. He returns to Kenya and informs his tribe of the catastrophe that has occurred in the United States. Kimeli decides he will offer his...more
Diana Hanke
What a beautiful story of human compassion and sacrifice. 14 Cows for America tells the story of a young man,Kimeli, who belongs to the Maasai, nomadic hunters who live in a small village in Kenya. He has left his beloved village to study in America. While in New York City, he experiences the devastation of September 11th. It breaks his heart, and in his desire to share hope with those who lost so much, he vows to sacrifice his only cow. Cows to the Maasai are life. They raise them and love them...more
I was moved by this picture book. It tells us the story of Kimeli, a Maasai man, who returned to his home village for a time as he was studying to be a doctor. When he returns, his people ask for a story and he provides them with one of the attacks of September 11th. The Maasai respond with a stunning and inspirational gift of what they hold most dear; cows; fourteen, in fact.

It takes talented authors to write about such an emotional event as September 11th in a manner that is understandable to...more
14 Cows For America is a fascinating look at how an event in America’s history affected a remote village in Africa thousands of miles away. A young man from a remote village in Kenya returns home for a visit. He is studying to be a doctor in New York, and 9/11 was just a few months past. He retells the devastation of that day to the elders in his village, and they come together to offer a gift of hope to America; 14 sacred cows.
The story and the illustrations work together to show a different r...more
As with any tragedy, in the years following the wake of September 11th a spate of books came out discussing, dissecting, and generally trying to make sense of what occurred. In this the children’s literary world and the adult literary world were very much alike. Picture books in particular took a great deal of interest in making the events palatable to young impressionable minds. The results were mixed. The general consensus was to write titles that focused on the human moments that surrounded t...more
1. Genre: Multicultural
2. Awards: Beehive award, Best Book for Kids (multicultural category, Best Children's Book of the Year, Bluestem Book Award, CCBC Choices (Historical People, Places and Events, Comstock Book Award, E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor, Land of Enchantment Book Awards, Notable Books for a Global Society, Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (honor book, Social Studies K-6), Teachers’...more
Barbara Lovejoy
I have been reading Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, and she mentioned this book as being a favorite of her students. I had never heard of it, but the title intrigued me so checked it out from the library. What a heartwarming book with a beautiful message. I cried while reading it, and I was still crying when I finished. There is a great website--- www.14cowsforamerica.com
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It isn't often that a book this small can bring me to tears, but this one did. This is the story of Kimeli, a young Maasai man studying in New York City in September of 2001. Kimeli returns to his village and tells the elders and then the others of the events of September 11. The village elders send for the closest diplomat from the US and proceed to offer gifts of the heart for a grieving nation. The generosity and compassion of these people touched me so much. The illustrati...more
One nation is mourning and another one wants to help--but this is not your everyday international aid story. A young man named Kimeli returns home to his Maasai village in Kenya with a story to tell. The story is about the events that took place in New York City, September 11, 2001. The Maasai people are moved by the story and want to offer a gesture of comfort and friendship. The gift connects two cultures in a very special way.

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy (Illustrated by Thomas Gon...more
Amber M
Genre: Multicultural

Awards: Cybils Award Nominee for Nonfiction Picture Books (2009), Parents' Choice Gold Award (2009), Comstock Read Aloud Book Award (2010)

Grade: 3-4

This book will allow the students to see how other cultures felt and dealt with the events of 9/11. Since the book is about a tribe in Kenya it will also allow us to explore Africa and their culture. There are several themes associated with this book: giving, compassion, friendship, and symbolism. For a follow up activity I would...more
Very few people knew of the Maasai tribe's gesture to the United States after the tragedy of 9/11 -- a gift of 14 cows. As Deedy observes:

"Once they were feared warrirors. Now they live peacably as nomadic cattle herders. They treat their cows as kindly as they do their children. /They sing to them. They give them names. They shelter the young ones in their homes. Without the herd, the tribe might starve./ To the Maasai, the cow is life."

I could never read this book aloud to an audience.
I would...more
Lauren Ritcey
Genre: Multicultural
Awards: Parent's Choice Gold Award
Grade Level: 1-6
Comments: I would read this book to my classroom on September 11. I would use it to promote discussion with my students on what they know about 9/11. I would also discuss the idea of different parts of the world coming together to memorialize on an important day. I think that would build such a connection in the students mind knowing that the entire world can come together to be supportive of one another. I could also bring th...more
Emily Hollander
Genre: Multicultural
Awards: Caldecott medal
Grade Levels: 3-4

I could use this book in my classroom to show my students how different lands and cultures are indeed able to emerge together and support one another. They can understand that everyone in the world can relate to one another in some way and that brings us all together in the end. One activity I could do with this book is allow the students to get into small groups and discuss ways that they think they could do to help others in need who...more
Kimeli grew up in Kenya in the Maasai tribe. He won a scholarship to study in America. He was in New York City on September 11th, 2001. He saw the devastating events of that day and he wanted to do something to help. In his tribe, the cow is life. He returned to Kenya and his people were so moved by the story of that tragic day that his tribe blessed 14 cows and held a ceremony for the American ambassador that accepted the cows.

This true account is extremely moving and the Maasai people express...more
Jessica Schwartz
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, which won a Parent's Choice Award, is a touching story that sheds a new light on 9/11. The main character, Kimeli, has just returned to his village in Kenya after studying medicine in New York. The people of his tribe greet him and ask if he has any stories. They are all in shock and want to know what they can do for these poor people. In the Maasai tribe, "the cow is life." So, Kimeli asks the elders to bless his only cow as he will be giving it to Amer...more
Allison Moore
"14 Cows for America" is a touching story about the village of Massai in Africa. One of the village's people, Kimeli, had gone to America to study at a University. He was in New York during the attacks of September 11, 2001. When he returns home to his village, he tells them the story of the attacks. The people of Massai are horrified by the story he tells and know that they must do something to bless America. The book follows the hearts of Massai and their love for life, blessings, and comfort...more
I read this to my class today for Patriot Day, and of course I had a hard time getting through it. Such a moving story! My students weren't quite as impressed. They didn't think 14 cows was much of a gift, even though I had emphasized what the cows meant to the Maasai people who gave them. Hopefully, though, they still felt the spirit of the story and will understand it more fully in the future. They were impressed with the amazing illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez.
Mar 11, 2013 Selena rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
Loved it!!! It's a picture book I bought and had signed by the Author Carmen Agra Deedy who was a guest speaker recently at our state library conference last week. I read this book to my high school media skills students for the past two days to tie in cultural literacy and the story of 9/11. (many of my students were only 6 or 7 years old when 9/11 happened). You could hear a pin drop in my library as I read this story to them. It was great!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Absolutely beautiful. Moved me to tears. This is the true story of how the Maasai people of Kenya, upon hearing of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, gave to America, as a gesture of comfort and empathy, 14 of its most valued possessions--cows. The last line of the story says it all:
"Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort." Highly, highly recommended!
14 Cows for America is a great book depicting what happened on September 11, 2001 and how others gave as much as they could to help America get back on their feet again. Specifically, the book is about a man Wilson Camili Niahoma coming back to his tribe in Kenyon from Stanford University. His tribe wanted Wilson to tell a story to them and he told them the story of September 11th. Wilson and the tribe wanted to give the United States something special to help them out. The tribe gave all they c...more
Jodi Young
"Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort." This was a powerful story based on true events that allow children to understand the tragedy that the US had. it can be used as an intro into history. children will love and understand it. some will even cry.
LittleMissFangirl {Zoe}
I loved this book. It was well written and simply beautiful. It reminds us and teaches us about this tragic day in history, and how not just America but other countries came together. I cried reading this book, but I loved it. Lets all take a moment to honor whose lives were taken this day. ~God Bless America~
This picture book is the touching story of a young South African Maasai man who was in New York studying on 9/11. He returns to his homeland and shares the story of that day with his people. The response of these subsistence farmers will certainly warm your heart.
A story of compassion and comfort from the point of view of a Kenyan man who witnessed the attacks on the the Twin Towers on 911. This book has relevance to people of all ages. I found another favorite quote on the last page of this book.
Melissa Hazelbaker
Sweet, sad, uplifting. Three words that I use to describe this book. If you are reading this review and have never read/heard of this book, read it. It is a great book that deals with 9/11, in a kid friendly way. It is about a Kenyan man whom wants to become a doctor, so he comes to America to do so, while in America, Sept. 11 happens. He goes back home to Kenya and tells his tribe of what has happened in America, they all feel very sad and want to do something to help. They end up giving 14 cow...more
Heather Barrett
This is a very moving story about a tribe in Kenya that have learned about the September 11th bombing in America. The tribe, the Massai, decide to bestow a gift on the Americans to show that they too feel their pain. This story was very well written and thought provoking. It would take some explaining to children to show them that a poor tribe willingly giving up 14 of their cows is a grand gesture even though in America they would not be worth as much monetarily. I really enjoyed this story and...more
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Carmen Agra Deedy is an internationally known author of children’s literature, a storyteller and radio contributor. Born in Havana, Cuba, she immigrated to the United States with her family in 1963 after the Cuban Revolution. Deedy grew up in Decatur, Georgia and currently lives in Atlanta and has three daughters.
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“Because there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.” 12 likes
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