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The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families Hardcover – May 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review

This moving depiction of ecological innovation centers on a project spearheaded by Dr. Gordon Sato to plant mangrove trees, which grow easily in salt water, in the village of Hargigo in the impoverished African nation of Eritrea. Graceful prose alternates with cumulative verse to relay the benefits that the trees provided for the community: "These are the fishermen/ Who catch the fish/ That swim in the roots,/ Of the mangrove trees." Resembling papier-mâché, Roth's textural mixed-media collages become increasingly lively as the new ecosystem flourishes. An extensive afterword, containing many photographs of Sato and the people of Hargigo, brings their hopeful story into sharp focus. --Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review

Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore's The Mangrove Tree describes how these trees were planted by local women-earning them much needed income while the leaves from the mangrove trees feed Hargigo's sheep and goats. Today these animals live longer, produce healthier and larger flocks, and feed the residents of Hargigo. In addition to Roth's stunning, full-page color-saturated collage and mixed-media artwork, photographs of Dr. Sato and the Hargigo community at work illustrate this stunning book. --School Library Journal

Dr. Gordon Santo had a brainstorm: Why not plant mangrove trees in the waters off Hargigo? The leaves would feed the town s hungry herds of sheep and goats and provide wood for fuel; the trees root system would attract fish; and the trees themselves would [convert] carbon dioxide to oxygen. Roth s artwork is a treat, cut-paper and fabric collages of intense, shimmering color on a ground of paper that is electric with thick veins of fiber. Roth and Trumbore s cumulative verse goes about its merry way on the left page. . .while a narrative on the right takes readers on Santo s journey. Hitting home hard is the project s simple practicality: no high-tech, no great infusions of capital or energy in a word, motivating, in the best possible way. --Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

SUSAN L. ROTH s unique mixed-media collage illustrations have appeared in numerous award-winning children s books, many of which she also wrote. About her inspiration for The Mangrove Tree Roth says, I wanted to write this book ever since I first heard about [Dr. Sato s] project in Eritrea. I wanted to illustrate this book the minute I saw photographs of the project. Roth lives in New York.

CINDY TRUMBORE has been involved with young people s literature for most of her career. A former editor in children s book publishing, she now writes children s books, edits books for classrooms, and teaches writing. When her friend Susan L. Roth approached her to coauthor The Mangrove Tree, Trumbore was immediately excited by the chance to research and write about Dr. Sato s work. She lives with her family in New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1190L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600604595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600604591
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris Karim on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On rare occasion will I give five stars, but I must give credit where it is due. The Mangrove Tree is a remarkable book with Caldecott-worthy illustrations. It is well written and informative, and the story is a powerful example of how one person, Dr. Gordon Sato, can change the lives of many people (and sheep and goats too). Moreover, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book goes to The Manzanar Project, whose aim is to wipe out poverty and hunger.

The book's layout is particularly well done, and Ms. Roth and Ms. Trumbore employ an interesting technique: On the page to your left, you will find a "House That Jack Built"-type summary of the story as it unfolds. This cleverly illustrates how everything links together, from the planting of seedlings to the men and women who tend to them so they may become the trees that provide sustenance for so many. I found it especially fascinating to learn how mangrove trees have aided the fishing industry in Hargigo, a village in the African country of Eritrea.

The pictures in the Afterword "pull you in" and allow you to experience the beauty created by the men and women who plant and care for the mangrove trees. The glossary helps children both sound out and make sense of challenging yet important words. And several websites are listed so you can learn more about Dr. Sato and The Manzanar Project. We certainly need more quality books like this one. I look forward to reading other stories by this dynamic duo.

Chris Karim
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. C. Ward on July 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Mangrove Tree
Planting Trees to Feed Families.

Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore have produced a very special children's book for integrated curriculum that can be viewed through a literary, biographical, geographic or science sustainability perspective.

As an educator, I like that the cumulative text on the left hand page makes this a suitable resource for younger children and the detailed description of the implementation of Dr. Soto's vision on the right makes the book suitable for more experienced readers. The text style, the message and the collage illustrations are all engaging. The content makes this an important resource on sustainability. Most of the books we read on introduced species have horrendous endings. It is nice to have a story of an introduced plant that enhanced the health, productivity and diversity of other creatures rather than destroying the balance. This is an important addition to elementary and middle school libraries for students and their parents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tadpole on August 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 2012, I received the book, “The Mangrove tree” from Dr. Gordon Sato. It is a beautifully written tribute to a great man, Dr. Gordon Sato. But what is missing is the story behind Dr. Gordon Sato’s endeavor to help Eritrea, the poorest nation in Africa out of poverty and become self sufficient.
In February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 forcefully removed all person of Japanese ancestry from their homes. Citizens were reclassified as enemy aliens while”Due Process” guaranteed under our Constitution was violated.
Gordon Sato, together with his parents and family, was imprisoned at Manzanar, Ca behind barbwires, watchtowers and guarded by US soldiers.
While he was imprisonment at Manzanar and afterwards, Gordon Sato wanted something good and positive to come out of his injustice of Manzanar. I am Japanese American and I was 20 years old when I too was imprisoned at Manzanar. Because there was a shortage of teachers, I took 24 units of educational courses to become a provisional credential teacher to augment the Caucasian credentials staff. I was selected to teach Physics and Gordon Sato was in my Physics class.
It was 50 years later when Manzanar was closed, Dr. Gordon Sato called me on the phone and said he wanted to come and see me. At our meeting, Dr. Gordon Sato said that he was on a Project t Eritrea, Africa. He called his project “Manzanar Project.” Using his scientific knowledge and his Manzanar experience, his goal was to help Eritrea out of poverty. He said he just wanted to thank me for inspiring him to get a college education. I was humbled by his two words “thank you.”At the time, I did not know what Dr. Gordon Sato had accomplished since Manzanar.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Years of conflict, economic stagnation, and famine had taken a toll on the people of the Eritrean village Hargigo. They suffered from malnutrition and struggled to improve their well-being until an innovative idea led to dramatic changes in the local food chain. A cell biologist named Dr. Gordon Sato started a project to grow mangrove trees by the shore of the salty Red Sea so that the local herds of sheep and goats could eat the leaves as a new food source.

Women who planted and tended the seedlings received training in fertilizing the young trees with special nutrients that would allow the trees to grow in salt water, and shepherds learned how to complement the mangrove leaves with seeds and fish so the herds would produce healthier milk. The local fishermen brought home larger catches because the mangrove roots served as homes for small sea creatures that attracted bigger fish.

This picture book offers young readers an interesting account of an influential cell biologist whose research and activism have made a real difference in a vulnerable community. The mixed media collage illustrations go a long way to engage the reader, and the straightforward text and alternating verse present the narrative in terms that younger readers will readily understand. The book conveys an important message about devising innovative ways to improve food security and is highly recommended.
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