The United Nations has dedicated this year’s World Environment Day (WED) to the forests of the world.
"This year’s theme, Forests: Nature at Your Service highlights the myriad benefits of forests towards human wellbeing, as well as the imperative to conserve them."posted about a really fantastic photographic book about trees, The Life and Love of Trees. So, I’m not going to reiterate what I’ve already written but I do encourage you to check out this book.
But I will highlight a group of books that tell the story of the power of an individual with vision and the interdependency between forests and the well-being of people.
At least four children’s books have been written about Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai and her determination to improve the lives of Kenyans by reestablishing forests. Each book tells of Wangari’s connection with her natural environment, her education in the sciences and her desire to reestablish the forests of Kenya through her Green Belt Movement. Some are written for younger children but for the most part they will work in elementary as well as junior high levels (ages 8-12 or 13).
These four books are:
Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli (333.72092 NaM 2010 PIC BK)
Planting the trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola (333.72092 NiP 2008 PIC BK)**
Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson (333.72092 JoS 2010 PIC BK)
Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter (333.72092 WiW 2008 PIC BK)**
(** indicates my favorites.)
To learn more about the Green Belt Movement there is also Wangari Maathai’s own book, The Green Belt Movement: sharing the approach and the experience (333.72 MaG 2006) that will tell you everything you need to know about the effects of degraded environments on the quality of life of the people of Kenya, the work involved in starting and maintaining the organization, some trials and tribulations with government officials and international developers, and the impact the movement has had on lives and environment. This book has very little about the personal story of Wangari, which more likely to be found in her memoir Unbowed. I’ll look to read this in the near future.