Wangari’s Trees of Peace

March 3rd is Wangari Maathai Day/Africa Environment Day.

Wangari Maathai was the first woman to earn a Doctorate degree in East Africa and the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize but she’s best remembered as the woman who motivated Kenyan women to plant over 300 million trees in Kenya. Wangari’s Trees of Peace tells Wangari’s story in a simple way making it quite easy for children to read.

Africa Environment Day was established by the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to raise awareness about the environmental problems in Africa.

To commemorate this day, we have changed the book of the week to Wangari’s Trees of Peace. The Emperor’s New Clothes will be reviewed next week.


Title: Wangari’s Trees of Peace

Author: Jeanette Winter

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Creative Non-Fiction; Contemporary, Series

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here:

Price: $15.07


Wangari grew up near Mount Kenya. There were lots of trees and different types of birds to see everyday. She had the typical rural African childhood. She went to the farm, to plant and harvest sweet potatoes, maize, etc.; she fetched firewood for cooking, etc. Wanagari loved Kenya. But she had to leave because she got a scholarship to study in the United States.

When Wangari returned, many years later, there were no more trees in and around her home. She was worried that Kenya would become a dessert since people were cutting down trees without planting new ones.

Read the book to find out how Wangari saved Kenya from becoming a dessert and how she grew millions of trees in a few years.


UP: It’s an inspiring story and will help children see that one person can make a difference in the world.

DOWN: It has a bit of violence: “They hit her with clubs” and this line is followed by an image of people hitting a lady with clubs and droplets of blood falling from her forehead.


5 Stars


  • Wangari used these to change the world around her. Trees! 


Team the reading experience with a visit to to learn more about Wangari Maathai.

CHALLENGE: Wangari’s Trees of Peace


  • Plant a seedling in a garden at home or in school this week. Write a short 300 word essay on the planting process and take a picture (7-8 year olds)


  • Draw (and name) two trees you see everyday. (4-6 year olds)

Send your answers to

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Wednesday, March 9th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES by Hans Christian Andersen




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