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Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace Hardcover – April 1, 2013

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Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace + Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa + Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—This entry on Wangari Maathai takes a slightly more comprehensive look at her life than several other recent books. Her deep love of nature and her determination, first to get an education and later to save the environment and ultimately the people of Kenya, are discussed. Foreign business interests and the duplicity of "corrupt police" forced her first into prison, then politics, and ultimately into spreading her message to the wider world. The book closes as she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. An afterword adds more detail on the Green Belt Movement. Vivid colors sparkle from within the thick white outlines in the batik-style illustrations that fill the pages.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai has become a popular subject for the elementary-school crowd: this title marks the fourth picture-book biography about the Kenyan environmentalist to be released in the last two years. More than the previous offerings, Johnson's title discusses Maathai's education, particularly the role that her brother played in advocating that his sister attend school, and later, at college in the U.S., the inspiration Maathai found in her female science professors: “From them she learned that a woman could do anything she wanted to.” Throughout the poetic text, Johnson includes direct quotes, sourced in appended notes, which will help young people feel a more immediate connection to the inspiring activist and her powerful message. Sadler's bright mixed-media art, reminiscent of Ashley Bryan's work with its white outlines and rainbow-hued shapes, reinforces the sense of a depleted land growing green again and the presence, even in bustling city scenes, of a vibrant natural world. An author's note and resources conclude this title, which complements, rather than duplicates, other recent titles about Maathai. Grades 2-4. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: ALA: Youth Media Award Winners 2011
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160060367X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600603679
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As the oldest daughter in her Kikuyu family, Wangari Maathai did not attend school as a young child. Rather, traditional customs dictated that she help her parents with the farm work and child care. Although she enjoyed her outdoor work and delighted in the majesty of the sacred fig tree, Wangari wanted desperately to follow in her brother's tracks and gain a formal education.

Recognizing their daughter's talents and her willingness to learn, Wangari's parents decided to send her to school. Wangari did so well, especially in the sciences, that she attended college and graduate school in the United States. She came back to Kenya to work as a university instructor, but much had changed. Logging and plantation farming had caused extensive deforestation, soil erosion, dirty water, malnutrition, and greater work burdens for women. Wangari's simple but powerful idea to start planting trees grew into a national movement that led to over 30 million new trees planted, and in 2004 she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Rich in its biographical narrative, this picture book gets high marks for its valuable lesson about the importance of educating girls and protecting the environment. Parents and teachers can use this story about the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize to introduce children to basic economic concepts such as scarcity, natural resources, and human resources. Vivid, colorful images rendered in scratchboard and oil work extremely well to highlight Wangari Maathia's background and contributions in environmental activism.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tim Magner on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Seeds of Change is a worthy read on plenty of levels. The illustrations captivate and the prose flows. So, the book works well even before considering the impact of the story. It doesn't matter if you're eight, eighteen or eighty, the story of Wangari is motivating. And what makes this book on Wangari more appealing than the other children's books on the subject, is it provides more information on Wangari, including rich quotes. While it may be about a woman and movement in Africa, there is enough information on Wangari the person to help us feel empowered as we read. Now, more than ever, we need to be reminded that dreams are possible. I highly recommend this book. Buy it here and/or ask your local library to get several copies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Ward on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Seeds of Change is an important story. Whether you are studying women leaders, African cultures, or interdependence of the creatures of the natural world, this is a relevant narrative for your library. I am using it in an inquiry unit where questions about trees have led to a study of preserving our environment which ultimately led to a study of sustainable cultures and challenges. The story of Wangari Maathai provides insight into the importance of environmental sustainability, as well as a profound model of dedication and perseverance. The white-bordered figures and flowing lines of the illustrations carry the energy through the life story and the profound message of hope. I would recommend this story of a contemporary real life 'hero' for teaching grades 3-7, but engaging for adults as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. C. Harris on August 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love the drawings, and the story is very inspirational to young girls to strive and follow their dreams.. This is a biography of Wangari Mathaai. She fought deforestation in her native Kenya, and was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. A champion and advocate for women and children. A woman who was not expected to attend school let alone go to college in the U.S. She went back to Kenya and started the Green Belt Movement to combat deforestation in Kenya. Great cultural lessons from her mother about trees and their significance in the lives of African women were motivations for Wangari to start her movement. In spite of the gender discrimination she faced in her country. The new young trees were planted in long rows looked like green belts, hints the name of the movement. Great story for all ages. I highly recommend
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wangari Maathai came from a small village in Kenya. By sowing small seeds to grow trees and hope, she changed the world. One woman at a time, one village at a time, she offered support as taught by her ancestors. She beat all of the odds and became an amazing trailblazer for African women, Kenyans and environmentalists everywhere.

SEEDS OF CHANGE is a beautifully illustrated children's book about the life of an amazing woman, Wangari Maathai. The simple descriptive prose of Cullerton is brought to life by the vivid imagery of Sonia Lynn Sadler. Together these women create an inspiring and empowering children's book about women's rights, being kind to the planet, and one person's ability to make a world of difference.

Reviewed by Shawneda Marks
for The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colleen on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed this book. It is book that really teaches children the power of how a source from nature can direct your thinking and values of life. It has been a tool to show my son how to admire and respect nature. Along with this the book also tells how anything is possible. I think it is a wonderful book to share with children especially in these times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed how this story followed a girl in her culture. Her name was Wangari Maathai and she was the oldest daughter in her family. Most of the children in the culture did what they were expected to do. Wangari did what her parents asked from her, but she was more interested in doing what her brother was doing. She wanted to get an education. Her parents knew she had a gift, and allowed her to follow her dreams and they were open to sending her to school. Wangari was successful in school and really enjoyed science. She was able to go all the way to graduate school in the United States. She continued following her dreams and helped plant trees, and she won a Noble Peace Price in 2004.
Reading this book really shows that if you follow your dreams, then you can be successful in life. Wangari knew she had more to offer than doing farm work for her family. She stayed true to herself and was able to help others. This story can really change a young child who thinks they can't do something great in life.
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