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Seeds of Change: Wangari's Gift to the World

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  647 ratings  ·  162 reviews
A picture book biography of scientist Wangari Maathai, the first African womanand first environmentalistto win a Nobel Peace Prize (in 2004), for her work planting trees in her native Kenya.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Lee & Low Books
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Jen Johnson Good question. Wangari got arrested because she was bringing too many changes to Kenyan society-- mostly because of how her planting trees with young …moreGood question. Wangari got arrested because she was bringing too many changes to Kenyan society-- mostly because of how her planting trees with young women and girls gave them new freedoms and that provoked an anger in politicians. So the politicians paid corrupt police officers and she went to jail. But the voice and force of the international community, helped free her!(less)

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 ·  647 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Jul 02, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction, picture
I've already read some books on Wangari Maathai, but I want to get this one for the illustrations.

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all interested in Maathai, trees, ecology & the environment, women’s rights, beautiful books
A while back I read a couple picture books about Wangari Maathai, including Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai and Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, and I loved them both, and I’m interested in reading her autobiography and her book about the Green Belt Movement, and any biographies about her, but for now I found this new to me picture book, published in 2010. This is by far my favorite of the books I’ve read so far.

The illustrations are so special: lush,
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Tree Lovers, Environmentalists & Would-Be Activists
From the time she was a young girl, and her mother explained the importance of the mugumo trees to the Kikuyu people, Wangari Maathai had felt a deep connection to the natural world around her, and to its trees. A bright, curious child, she received the atypical benefit of an education - something denied most girls in Kenya - and won a scholarship to a college in the USA. It was upon her return to Kenya after school, and her discovery of the widespread deforestation of the country, that she bega ...more
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
We have already seen two incredible picture books about Wangari, so I was hesitant to pick this one up. I should never have hesitated. This book adds to Wangari’s story by telling the story of her youth growing up in the bounty of Kenya. Her mother teaches her about each tree and what it offers. Though it was unusual for girls in Kenya to be educated, Wangari’s parents saw how bright she was and sent her to school. After she graduated from elementary school, Wangari went to the city to continue ...more
May 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone!
Shelves: first-reads-wins
I won this book through First Reads - thanks GoodReads!
My children and I all loved this book. I think the incredibly beautiful, vibrant illustrations reeled us in, but my kids' second and third requests for a reading were based on the tale. This is a true story of a Kenyan woman who educated herself, worked to save her country and especially its women through preservation of natural resources, and was inevitably thrown in jail. She grew stronger through her difficult experiences, though, and bec
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is the fourth picture book about Wangari Maathai that I've read. Author Johnson starts with her childhood and describes her education and accomplishments. My favorite sentence comes at the end: "She understood that persistence, patience, and commitment--to an idea as small as a seed but as tall as a tree that reaches for the sky--must be planted in every child's heart." Having read Maathai's book Unbowed, I know that her life was about so much more than just planting trees, and Johnson has ...more
This is another fantastic book about the amazing Wangari, affectionately known as Mama Miti. The artwork is a treasure to behold and enhances a quality story about a woman who was committed to changing her beloved country Kenya. This is a great book not only about nature, the environment and fighting the political and legal systems, but is also an excellent book for girls to learn the importance of a college education to make a difference in their lives and those around them. This is also an exc ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The beautiful children's book tells the story of Wangari Maathai a Kenyan woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her Green Belt Movement. She is a modern day version of Johnny Appleseed and inspired by her mother spends her life planting trees, encouraging others to plant and promoting the rights of women and children.

The illustrator, Sonia Lynn Sadler, is to be commended for her interesting illustrations that all look like wonderful jigsaw puzzles. The colors and shapes are exquisite.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book is for a boy or girl who are in the grade 2 to 4 for them to read. This book is based on a true story about a girl named Wangari who wants to go to school and does get to go. And grows up to stand up to what she believes in and to never give up, no matter what anyone tries to do or say. She brings life and nature back to Kenya just by standing up to what she believes in and more.
This book as great pictures and bright color.

Coretta Scott King Book Award Recipients 2012
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens_lit
Audience: Primary

Appeal: Bright, colorful illustrations; female African-American scientist, value of environmental awareness

Award: (Coretta Scott King list) John Steptoe award for new talent, 2011
Love this art. Really colorful without being too loud, possibly because of the way all the borders and outlines worked. I liked that it focused pretty evenly across her whole life, and nothing was too saccharine.
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Read this book after winning it on FirstReads. Wonderful childrens' book about Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize. Beautiful illustrations throughout the book. ...more
Edward Sullivan
There are several excellent books available about Wangari Maathai, also known as Mama Miti, and this is another. Well-told and beautifully illustrated.

Plot Summary and Personal Response: This story is an auto biography about a woman by the name of Wangari Maathai. She is the first African female environmentalist. The story started from when she was a little girl playing and living around a tree. As a little girl she recognized that trees are very important to life in the world. She wanted to go to school so badly to learn about trees, life, and everything else education had to offer. Unfortunately, it was very uncommon for girls to go to schoo
Julie Lamb
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Book Title: Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace by Jen Cullerton Johnson

Short Description of the Book: In this book, a young Kenyan girl pushes the limits by striving for an education, something not typically offered to girls in her culture. After receiving an education, she used her knowledge and compassion for her land and people to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land that she loved so dearly.

FOCUS: Narrative Features I would use in a Mini-Lesson:

1) Sensory
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Audience: The writing has a balanced combination of simple and complex sentences allowing this to read by intermediate and advanced level children. Students of every culture background would benefit from reading a story set in Kenya. The main character is a girl who faces challenges and would be inspirational for young girl readers.

Appeal: The illustrations are beautiful and exotic to the average American student. The non-fiction base of the book attracts young readers because they can learn abo
Allison Webster
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
1. Junior, Biography

2. This biographical text focuses on the life of a Kenyan woman,Wangari Maathai, whom was the first African woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts as an environmentalist and women's rights activist. Wangari was best known for her Greenbelt Movement, in which she planted and encouraged others to plant trees. These trees changed Kenya for the better; Kenya's economy was strengthened and their environment cleansed.

3. I would like to critique this book on i
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Audience: Primary

Genre: Picture Book (Biography of Wangari Maathai)

Text to World: In this book, the author tells the story of Wangari Maathai, a woman from Kenya who leaves her Kikuyu village to become a scientist. Because she has an affinity to trees and living things, Wangari studies biology and the environment. When she returns home to Kenya to become a professor in Nairobi, Wangari is disconcerted when she sees that her country has changed. Much of the land has been sold to foreign compani
Ashley Browning
Format: Biographical Reference

Format: Biographical Reference

Item Title (APA Style):
Johnson, J. (2010). Seeds of change: Planting a path to peace. New York: Lee and Low Books.

Call number:
SB63.M22 J646 2010

Reviewed in:
Wildner, K. (2010). Book reviews. [Review of the book Seeds of change: Planting a path to peace, by J. Johnson]. Library Media Connection, 29(3):90. Retrieved June 16, 2012, from Academic Search Premier.

This biography is about the life of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize-winne
Kathryn Dykes
Cullerton Johnson, Jen. Seeds of Change. Lee & Low Books, 2010. 40 pg. Gr. K-4.

Plot Summary: Deep in the heart of Kenya, young Wangari set off on her journey towards earning an education, leading her to a path of great purpose. She was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to obtain an education, unlike many of the other girls in her village. As Wangari grew, so did her thirst for knowledge, especially in the subject area of science; where everything came to life. Her schooling took her many
Mary Ann
Seeds of Change presents an interesting view of the Wangari Maathai's childhood, drawing on her autobiographical writing. Although it was unusual for girls to receive formal education in rural Kenya, Wangari’s parents agreed to send her to school. Wangari’s determination and hard work continued as she went first to high school in the city, and then to university in the United States to study biology. She returned to Kenya to teach and inspire women scientists, but became concerned when she saw t ...more
Stephanie Croaning
by Jen Cullerton Johnson; illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler
Lee & Low Books, New York, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60060-367-9
Description: 40 p. : col. ill. ; 26 cm.
Dewey: 333.72
Subject: Narrative nonfiction; biography; Kenya; conservation; environment; women’s rights
Interest Level: 3-6; Reading Level: 4.8
Lexile measure: 820
Awards: Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations
4 out of 5 stars

Summary from the publisher: “A picture book biography of scientist Wangari Maathai, the first
Emma Hughes
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Seeds of Change" is a colorful picture book biography about the first environmentalist and African American woman to win a Noble Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai. It shows the chronology of her life through beautiful illustrations and text, beginning with the foundations of her appreciation for nature to her experiences leaving home and going to school. She broke many barriers, and worked hard to create positive change in her community and in the world as a whole. She spread her conviction througho ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, juvenile, art
An amazing story surrounded by vibrant art. A gift for the soul and the eye. Wangari grows up in a small village in Kenya where her mother imparts a knowledge and love of tree and her big brother shares the knowledge he is acquiring in school. Amazingly Wangari is sent to school and progresses in her studies ending up in the US for college. She returns home when Kenya elects a president from her tribe. She sees first hand the destruction of her homeland's resources as the forests are cut for ti ...more
Anne Mukendi
Oct 26, 2017 added it
Shelves: 1, ece-3600, esol
Seeds of change is a fiction book written by Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler. The story is about the young girl from Kenya that planted trees to restore the greenery of her country. This book is different from Wangari's Trees of Peace, because it dives more deeply into the story. The colors are much more bright and vibrant than the other book as well. I believe the cultural connection that this book creates is with the clothing. The clothes are very colorful, like the ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jen Cullerton Johnson does an excellent job telling the story of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai. Readers feel involved as they watch Maathai's childhood determination lead to her achievement of an American college education, return to Kenya, beginning of an environmental movement, political imprisonment, and eventually being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The language is clear and detailed. Sonia Lynn Sadler's vibrant and whimsical illustrations fill the book with joy and make it a plea ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Text: 5 stars
Illustrations: 5 stars

Picture book biography of Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist and activist. Beautiful painted-scratchboard illustrations burst with color, depth, and life. Art has a real African feel to it. A bit wordy by today's picture book standards, but the text flows well and sustains interest. Page layouts are superb and accommodate all that text with prowess. Includes a brief author's note and sources.
Melodie Beacham-Boyd
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a young woman who changed Kenya by planting trees and taking back her land from people who were trying to destroy it. I really liked this book because she did not let anything stop her from accomplishing her goals. It would help teach kids to stand up for what they believe in. They can create change. Plus it is about a real woman, Mama Mahitti.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Amazing true story and equally amazing illustrations. This book is a work of art in every way. Likely to inspire children and adults to do more to help the planet and the people on it...
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Biography of Mangari Maathai. Takes us from childhood to beyond her Nobel Prize.
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Jen Cullerton Johnson is the founder of Green Literacy. She is the author of Change (Lee & Low 2012) demonstrates the connection between people and nature. Seeds of Change has been recognized for many prizes and awards, including a Starred Review for Kirkus Review, a Notable Children's Books Smithsonian Magazine, Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations EMIERT/ALA, Ame ...more

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