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Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  504 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Charlesbridge (first published January 1st 2015)
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Brenda Kahn
Back in 2008, a very lovely picture book biography of Wangari Maathai was published. It was a perfect blend of succinct but beautiful writing and pleasing, folk-style illustration. Do we need another? Yes! This one is for slightly older readers. There's a bit more text, more detail, including the feminist aspects of Wangari's activism. The illustrations are gorgeous, lush, striking, evocative and beg the eye to linger. I want to swim in the palette.
Mary Ann
Maathai's political activism shines through in this biography, in her determination to reverse environmental damage caused by large, colonial plantations and empower local villagers--especially women--to improve their local conditions. Prévot begins by introducing young readers to Maathai's legacy:
"It's almost as if Wangari Maathai is still alive, since the trees she planted still grow. Those who care about the earth as Wangari did can almost hear her speaking... Wangari encouraged many village
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Beautiful book with several breathtaking illustration spreads.

More books about Wangari Maathai? Yes, please. And this one focuses on her beginnings as well as her significant struggles with opposition, which I found to be a new take.

"...a tree is worth more than its wood."
Stunning book about an incredible woman who dedicated her life to public service.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read this with my kids while learning about Africa. Let me start with the good points : the illustrations are beautiful, Wangari is a very inspiring strong woman, her life story is fascinating, her work was amazing, my kids enjoyed the book.

Reason for the 2 star (just ok rating). I didn't like how the author states "anger turns into triumph." I don't think a children's book should ever tell children that anger or violence turns to triumph. Peace, using your voice, and sharing your message,
Lush illustrations dominated with various shades of green fill the pages of this book, a tribute to Wangari Maathai, the environmentalist who gave birth to the Green Belt Movement and helped restore the forests to her native Kenya. Some of the illustrations almost spring to life, showing roots and leaves and seedlings springing from a woman's hand. Although the book contains more text than some of the other books that tell her story, this one contains details that the others omit, for instance, ...more
I've read other books about Wangari Maathai, but this gives the most information, perhaps most interesting and inspiring for middle grade students who might be studying those who have changed the world. This book covers her entire life, her ideas, her perseverance. Even facing death threats, enduring prison and many enemies in her country of Kenya, she does not stop working for her dream, to plant trees. She was told by her mother, "a tree is worth much more than its wood", and she never forgets ...more
Age: 2nd-5th grade
Loaction: Kenya, Africa
Nonfiction: Biography

An excellent read-aloud choice for middle elementary-intermediate classrooms that would pair well with extension activities on activism, feminism, environmental protection, and African empowerment. That being said, I wish the illustrations were more suited for reading aloud but most of the illustrations are a bit too intricate and not quite as eye-catching for a classroom. The supplementary material provides a timeline, photographs, a
Cara Dore
Title: Wangari Maathai The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
Author: Franck Prévot
Illustrator: Aurélia Fronty
Genre: Biography (K-2)

Theme(s): Environmentalism, Corruption, Discrimination, Perseverance, Justice

Opening line/sentence: It’s almost as if Wangari Maathai is still alive, since the trees she planted still grow.

Brief Book Summary: Prévot’s telling of Wangari Maathai’s biography begins in her childhood, the daughter of a plantation worker in Kenya and one of few women to learn how to
Melissa Mcavoy
Beautiful, colorful illustrations and a more comprehensive explication of Wangari's activism that explicitly links it to women's rights and anti-corruption protests. The tone feels more conceptual than specific. It begins with the conceit that Wangari is still alive and is set in the present tense. Back matter includes photographs, a timeline, brief introductions to Kenya and the biological importance of forests as well as a handful of quotes from Maathai.
Edward Sullivan
One of several recently published picture book biographies about the Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, and this one stands out for its gorgeous, lush illustrations and a clear, concise narrative notable for linking her activism to feminist and human rights issues during her lifetime. Originally published in France.
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story about a woman in Africa who planted lots and lots of trees, even against strong opposition. One person *can* make a difference!
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This colorful picture book tells the story of Wangari Maathai, a woman from Kenya who eventually became one of the most accomplished environmentalists in the world. Not only does this book highlight the importance of standing up for what you believe in (in Wangari's case, the preservation of rainforests in Africa), but also the importance of education. If Wangari's brother never asked their mother why his sister didn't get to go to school, Wangari wouldn't have had the opportunity to make the ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Wangari is a Kenyan folk hero who has not only been a tremendous driving force for environmental protection in her country but the whole continent of Africa. Wangari's story is one that describes the importance of trees. People most often associate trees with wood and fruit they offer but do not realize how important they are for stopping desertification. Wangari Maathai is a tremendous mentor text for students of world cultures, ecology, environmentalism and ethnic studies and history of ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
In this tale of Wangari Maathai's life we see more of the background of her life. Who her parents were and how she able to come to the United States to pursue her college studies. She returns home after Kenya obtains their independence from Great Britain and discovers how little wildlife there is now and how the small farms are gone that fed the people. She is able to use her studies to show that "a tree is worth more than its wood". She starts the Greenbelt movement to encourage villagers to ...more
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tells the story of Wangari Maathai from childhood to her appointment as an assistant minister. There are also a couple of pages at the beginning and end that frame the main story (different tense, text in italics).

The book talks about education being an important part of Maathai's life, but it doesn't go into a lot of detail about her education. The detail is really about her love of trees and her activism.

The end notes are pretty extensive. They include a timeline of Maathai's life that also
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another inspiring book about planting trees about a woman, Wangari Maathai (1940-2011), who made a real difference in Kenya. It's sad I'm only hearing about it now. Educated and the first woman in East Africa to earn a PhD in 1971. It was published in 2015.

"Wangari knows that a tree is worth much more than it's wood, as her mother taught her. A tree is a treasure that provides shade, fruit, pure air, and nesting places for birds, and that pulses with the vitality of life. Trees are hideouts for
Becki Iverson
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Is anyone's story more made for children's literature than Wangari Maathai? She's such an immense inspiration. I read Mama Miti a year or two ago and then learned of this book, which is more in-depth. The illustrations have an Eric Carle type style that I love, and I learned a lot despite the slim size of this book. I also really appreciated the supplemental materials in the back that talk about deforestation, changing climate and environments across Africa, and more detailed biography of ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great picture book biography about Wangari Maathai. She saw the problems of her country, Kenya, as people chopped down trees to make money from lumber and the crops they thought would produce quick returns. But like the American Dust Bowl, the results of this type of farming were loss of soil, shade, and resources for the country. Wangari fought to educate farmers and the government on what needed to be done, replant trees. Not only did she change things in Kenya for farmers, she also ...more
“A tree is a little bit of the future.”

A picture book biography that tells the story of the woman who created the Green Belt Movement in 1977. She was a tireless worker for the rights of trees, animals and children. She wanted “to make democracy grow—like trees,” and stood up to the authoritarian president of Kenya at risk to her life and freedom. Eventually she is elected to parliament and is appointed the assistant minster of the environment, natural resources and wildlife.

“I would like to
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
The art in this picture book is exceptional. A truly beautiful book. It is the true story of a Nobel prize winner. I think it would be a terrific introduction to the study of Wangari Maathai's life. The only issue I have with the book is that it doesn't seem to stand on its own. Picture books are for young children. I believe that age child would need adult guidance in understanding things like British colonization of African countries, racial segregation, soil erosion, and the economic ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wangari Maathai: The woman who planted millions of Trees, is a beautiful picture book about a nobel prize winner. I would recommend this book as a read aloud for grades 1-4. The lower grades it may be best to read aloud this book has a good amount of text on the pages. The book is a biography of Wangari Maathai, a women who wanted to help her country and her people. A great story to start a conversation about environmental matters or what we can do to make the world a better place.

Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Biography about Wangari Maathai who founded the Green Belt movement to save Kenyan forests. This picture book has incredible illustrations which made this book even more incredible to read. I think that this book would be good for 5th graders because it has some strong word choice and also has a lot of information that the reader is consuming. However, I think this could be a very good read aloud book to use in the classroom with any age and could be applied to either a history or science ...more
Mackenzie Feeley
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nonfiction. Grades 2-5 (lower grades will need to have it read to them, but the content can be understood). I loved this book!! To be honest, I grabbed it because I wanted to read a nonfiction picture book and this one had an interesting cover. It's about Wangari Maathai who is from Kenya. She does not like the deforestation that is being done. She protests and plants tons of trees. She makes a huge difference in Kenya, where women are not supposed to be making waves. This book could be used for ...more
Woah, I've read five picture books about Wangari Maathai, but this is the one that's jam-packed with information for older readers, instead of just mentioning things, fleshing them out a little more. We learn HOW she got to the US for college, HOW she protested, and WHY she ended up in prison. Wonderful book, perfect to use with 4th, 5th, 6th graders studying the environment, making a difference in the world, activism, trees, Tu'Bshvat,......
Obsessed with Aurelia Fronty illustrations, first of all. Secondly, this biography doesn't hold back with offering important contextual information surrounding Maathai's activism. Detailed back matter rounds out the story. I'd love to read this to one of my 2nd-4th grade classes--I know it's one of the books they'd pass around after story time so they can read the timeline and look at the real photographs.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wangari Maathai is a hero but unfortunately this book is not very comprehensible as a read aloud for lower elementary school (the grade level I teach). Perhaps best for upper elem? In an attempt to shine light on her powerful story, the author falls short and Wangari's life becomes fragmented and a bit muddied.
Jordan Mathews
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edr-320-books
Genre: Biography
I thought this book was really empowering to young women because it can help them take chances like Wangari going to school. I also thought the pictures were beautiful and the colors matched with the mood of each page so the readers can feel the emotion.
Grades: 2-6
Date Completed: February 6, 2018
Annie Morrison
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was really interesting! I enjoy African history, nature, and powerful women. I put this under the genre of biography. I enjoyed so much about this book but particularly the illustrations and the overall story. It was so inspiring and the beauty of the illustrations matched the beauty of the story so well, it was almost emotional.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it

3.7 stars

I enjoyed learning about environmentalist, Wangari Maathai, and her efforts to re-plant millions of trees in Kenya. She won The Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work.
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