There aren’t many large books that can keep Ella’s attention. She is a on the go kid and moves from one thing to the next like most typical 3 year olds. So I was interested to see how Mama Miti would grab her attention. I read the book before reading it to her so I could get a feel on how it should be read. I like to do voices and get animated and this was 40 pages. I was truly amazed at how this captured her attention and how we both had a history lesson.
Wangari Maathai is an actual person who was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She has accomplished amazing things in her life! She is especially known for introducing the idea of planting trees for peace to Kenyan citizens in 1976 and starting the Green Belt Movement. Since then, more than 30 million trees have been planted in Kenya and in other countries in Africa thanks to her efforts.
Here is a glimpse into the book written by Donna Jo Napoli: In 1940, Wangari was born in in Mount Kenya where she learned to love and respect trees through African folklore. Wangari was wise in Kenyan traditions and carried them with her as she ventured into the city for work. One day, a visitor came to the city and found Wangari to seek her wisdom since she could no longer feed her family. Wangari gave her seedlings and told her to plant them and eat the berries. Soon after, another poor woman came to Wangari and needed her help to find firewood. Wangari gave her some seedlings that would grow to make good firewood. Word passed through Kenya about Wangari and more and more people came to visit her as the years passed by. And soon, Kenya was filled with trees like it once was before. Wangari changed a country seed by seed and brought peace to her people through tradition.
Mama Miti is beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson and is a piece of art in itself. As you turn the pages you are totally captured by the fine details of African art. The patterns are vibrant, whimsical yet real, and bring you fully into the story. Even if your child doesn’t want to sit and hear a 40 page book, they will enjoy looking at each page. And they will still get the concept!
Mama Miti teaches the importance of trees and how each variety can be used for survival. You see how Kenyans live and depend on nature and their community to survive. The book shows that Kenyans don’t have the pleasure of driving to the store to buy firewood like we can. These are things we take for granted and this allows your child to see how others live.
Mama Miti also teaches African words which your child can look up in the back of the book. I highly recommend this book for all ages. Children will love the story as adults will appreciate the art and history. You can get this amazing book at Simon & Schuster for $16.99 in a hardback copy.
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New disclaimer: I was sent this item to review from Simon & Schuster. This in NO way changes my opinions about the products or company. These are my thoughts, opinions and results.