Wangari Maathai

Prévot, Franck. Wangari Maathai. Boston: Charlesbridge. 2015.

I read an outstanding book called Wangari Maathi by Frank Prévot. Wangari Maathi was born in Kenya at a time when girls normally did not attend school. So she helped her mom at home: gathering wood for the fire, looking after her siblings, and doing farm chores. One evening, her mother decided that her daughter should be educated. So Wangari went to school and earned a high school diploma at a time when some African women did not even know how to read. Wangari then moved to the United Stated for further studies. When she returned to Kenya five years later, everything had changed She saw Kenyans cutting down trees so they could use the land to grow tea, coffee, and tobacco wanted by rich countries. Wangari was shocked. She decided to take action. She started the Green Belt Movement, gathering a team of people and planting hundreds of trees. She was imprisoned several times because she took action against the government but every time she was released, she fought more. She did not give up. What a positive impact she had on her community! She was courageous and brave and believed in a better future for Kenya. Wangari eventually wond the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize award for all her hard work. – Avneet, grade 6

More biographies

Auma’s Long Run

Odhiambo, Eucabeth. Auma’s Long Run. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2017.
Auma has dreams. She wants to leave her small Kenyan village – where people all around her are dying – and attend high school. Then maybe – someday – she can become a doctor. Auma also has determination. She works hard and she can run. If she earns high grades and wins a track scholarship, maybe her dreams can come true.
But then her father dies of AIDS and her mother becomes ill. Auma is needed at home to support her siblings. What should she do?
This 297-page novel is not difficult to read. The font is relatively large, the lines of print widely spaced, and the margins generous. But the story is not a fairy tale and there is no simplistic happy ending. Recommended for mature readers 11 years old and up. 

More books set in Africa 

More novels about children with adult responsibilities