A Nobel Prize Winner You've never heard of


Seeds of Change is based on the true story of Wangari Maathai's quest to bring environmentalism and the Women's Rights Movement to Kenya starting in the 1970s, through the current decade (2010). Her effort culminated in the Nobel Peace Prize and millions of trees planted. The illustrations are vibrant and colorful, and unique in a style that makes the images speak of the beauty of Africa.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

The book has wonderful illustrations. I am glad to know the story of this strong woman environmentalist.

Content Awareness Factors:

I felt there was a bit of politics, and that it was too advanced for my 5 year old to understand the concepts. Even first grade would be a stretch in my opinion.

Little Kid Reaction

My children liked the book, and listened well, but did not react overwhelmingly to the story. Some of the concepts (strength, character and courage) are more advanced than what a kindergartener or a preschooler can appreciate.

Parent Reaction

I loved that the story was about a woman environmentalist in Africa. I was saddened to be telling my sons of a story where women struggle with being considered second-class. Even if she overcomes the oppression in the end, I don't want my sons to ever consider this an option. I felt the text was inefficient, and I lost patience reading it: too much text. I also felt that some of the concepts (politics, women's rights, etc.) were too abstract and high-level for kindergarteners.

Type of Book:
This is a picture-book biography that also has African history.
Educational Themes:

There are several themes to draw from the story: a history of women's rights, environmentalism, and the power of education and hard work to overcome obstacles.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 to 9
Age of child:
Read with boys ages 3 and 5.
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. This is a book suitable for the elementary school library.

Title Seeds of Change: Wangari's Gift to the World
Author Jen Cullerton Johnson
Publisher Lee & Low Books © 2010
Illustrators Sonia Lynn Sadler
ISBN 9781600603679
Material Hard Cover
Cost $18.95
Genres Biography, Ecology | Environment, Geography, Africa | African People
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