Wangari is a woman who grew up in Kenya living off the land with her people. She went to America to earn her Bachelors and Masters degrees, and when she returned to Africa, she discovered that her home was being decimated by deforestation and of cities encroaching on nature.
Wangari knew the value of trees, for the air, for the soil, for the people's health, and she began planting trees in Kenya. Of course, she ran into many who opposed her work, and faced challenges of those who tried to stop her, but she also enlisted the help of local women. They planted rows of trees to reforest their dry, empty home.
The story if Wangari's trees is a true one. Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 due to her efforts to recreate the Green Belt of Kenya. But this is one of those books that blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction. It is a true story, but told in a fairy tale tone. At the end of the book is a page of further details about Wangari and her work.
With such simple and sparse words, this picture book draws the reader in and allows us to feel connected to Wangari's efforts. Those efforts of peace are best said by Wangari herself,
"The earth was naked. For me the mission was to cover it with green."
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)