Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya. Donna Jo Napoli. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. 2010. January 2010. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.
On the highlands of Africa, near forests and plains and a huge salt lick, Wangari was born. The face of Mount Kenya smiled down on her. People told stories of how in the old days sometimes the sun shone too bright too long, and droughts came. Creatures suffered. Plants wilted. People fought. So the men held ceremonies under the mugumo--the spreading sacred fig tree--and the skies blessed them with shimmering rains to slake their thirst and water their farms. Village elders placed staffs from the thigi tree between angry men, and enemies became friends. Wangari listened to these stories. That's how she came to love and respect trees. That's how she came to be wise in the tradition of her family and village, of her country and continent.I really liked this one. I thought the writing was beautiful. I thought the illustrations were amazing. Together they make one incredible book.
I would definitely recommend this one. I loved the details in both the story and the art. While it may not be for every one--I'm not sure if it would satisfy the Goodnight Moon crowd--I think it is a beautiful story quite eloquently told.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers