Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai” as Want to Read:
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  640 ratings  ·  153 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 foun ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Planting the Trees of Kenya, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Planting the Trees of Kenya

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  640 ratings  ·  153 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 10, 2010 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
Jun 26, 2008 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
Jo Ann
Sep 27, 2011 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 is only a very simple ...more
CH _Kenya  Walker
Feb 24, 2010 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 t ...more
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture, non-fiction
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
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: humane-education
This would be a fine addition to a unit on environmentalism, gardening, Africa, or strong women leaders. We read the true story of Wangari Maathai, who helped her Kenyan village replant trees and practice resource conservation after bad planning resulted in arid, unusable lands.
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A more detailed book for upper elementary about the life of Wangari Maathai.
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
Mar 03, 2011 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
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 S ...more
Oct 20, 2011 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
Sara Ullery
Sep 24, 2016 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.
Sep 18, 2015 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
Sep 20, 2015 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
Lynn  Davidson
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Wangari Maathai realized her beloved Kenya and its people were greatly suffering due to land clearing she was determined to do something to change it back. This is a well told story of a woman who made a huge difference by acting on her belief that if we are part of the problem we can become part of the solution.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The exquisitely detailed watercolor and pencil illustrations seemed an odd choice for a book with so much potential for richness and color, but they are enchanting. The story of Wangari Maathai deserves to be better known. Good for reading aloud to young children, this book may even inspire them to help make the world better.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Outstanding! What an inspiring story! The illustrations were wonderfully detailed and lively. Now I must read Maathai's memoir, Unbowed.
What a lovely story with beautiful pictures.
I must confess I was ignorant about Wangari Maathai, Kenya's problems with environmental damage and the work she put into healing Kenya's nature and people.

I'll have to check out works about and by Wangari Maathai because this was immensely interesting.
Iza Alcorn
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, cultural
this picture book is about a girl named Wangari Maathai, who notices changes in her home. The kind of changes Wangari noticed was that there was an increased amount of people, but there was not enough food to feed everyone, and the new incomers as well. This created a problem, but Wangari wanted to make a change and create a solution for her home. Wangari then decides to use her skills and teach the people around her how to plant seeds. These seeds are different plants and grow new plants, whic ...more
Julianne Doucet
Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola was my absolute favorite picture book that I have read during this semester. This story was incredibly powerful and moving and the fact that it is true makes it even more so. Wangari Maathai is one of the most inspiring and strong woman role models that I believe the world has ever seen and I am thrilled that her story was told in such a magnificent way for all ages of girls and boys to read. This book is not only a book that I would include in my ...more
The illustrations are wonderfully tidy and intricate.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very good children's book that tells of how one woman was able to change her Kenyan home environment because of paying attention and encouraging others to participate in making their lives better. I plan to use it with my Adult ESL students in Kenya.
Malicia Bragg
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Planting the Trees of Kenya is the story of Wangari Maathai. Wangari spent her childhood growing up in Kenya, during this time the land was covered by a luscious green cloth of plants and trees. When old enough she moved to America to attend a college ran by the Benedictine nuns. Here she studied biology, as well as gained an important life lesson and that was to, “think not just of herself but of the world beyond herself”. After she finished schooling she was eager to return back to Kenya, but ...more
Madeline Krasnasky
This book was very motivational. The main character, Wangari Maathai was the first woman from Africa to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, which shows her hard work and dedication. She was the sole purpose for change and created a new world for Kenya. I thought the page about the soldiers was the most touching page in this story. I absolutely loved the quote, "You should hold the gun in your right hand and a tree seedling in your left." This quote really stuck with me because, in order to show strengt ...more
Shaeley Santiago
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: environmental science teachers
While Wangari Maathai was away at college in the USA, Kenyan farmers were changing their farming methods and cutting down many trees. When Maathai saw how severely the environment, resources, and well being of the people were affected, she began showing women how to plant trees & the Green Belt Movement began. As a result of her work, Maathai was the first African woman to receive a Nobel prize.

Links to The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough and One Hen: How One Sm
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Wangari Maathai, who spent her childhood growing up in the luscious green land of Kenya. When Wangari returned home from her studies in America, she was struck by the disbelief that her once green, luscious land of Kenya with plants and trees had turned to plantations for exporting goods. Wangari then gathered a group of women to re-plant the trees and plants of Kenya in hopes to restore the land. This planting of greenery continued for 30 years, all because Wangari Maathai ...more
May 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
(Summary) Tells the true story of Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement of Kenya, which has led to the planting of 30 million trees by rural Kenyan people over the past 30 years.

In a simple, straightforward style, Nivola tells how the growing population of farming people in the newly-independent Kenya ravaged the land, cutting trees for firewood, which led to loss of topsoil and the drying up of streams. Rather than waiting for the government to act, Maathai began a tree planting movement,
Dec 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Planting The Trees Of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai is about the amazing impact a woman named Wangari Maathai had in Kenya. She was inspired to bring back the tree’s and health of the land in Kenya because had grown up there and wanted to see the area beautiful once again. This book begins when Wangari was only a little girl; she loved how the earth was covered in a dress of green. She admired their beautiful area and enjoyed visited the sacred fig tree. When Wangari goes away for college ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
  • Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace
  • The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
  • Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees
  • Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya
  • Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas
  • One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
  • Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!
  • The Bravest Woman in America
  • The Wolves Are Back
  • The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon
  • Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
  • The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
  • Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau
  • Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad
  • The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors
  • What To Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!
  • Eleanor, Quiet No More
See similar books…
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