Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement, passed away on Sunday September 25 in Nairobi, Kenya at the age of 71. Named one of the heroines of the world, she was a great advocate for human rights and the environment who inspired the planting of more than 20 million trees.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, the first African woman to do so.
Wangari Maathai’s dedication to protecting trees and forests began with her appreciation of the rural village environment she grew up in. In her words,
“About two hundred yards away from the fig tree was a stream name Kanungu with water so clean, and fresh that we drank it straight from the stream. Underneath the arrowroots, there would be thousands of frogs’ eggs. They were black, brown, and white beads that I thought would make a beautiful necklace”.
In a message to the world’s children, Wangari Maathai said,
“Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, do not feel discouraged.”
We honor her by reminding all children that she lives on through the many books that have been written about her and will continue to be written. Here are some of them:
Seeds of Change, by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler.
Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa, by Jeannette Winter.
Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, by Claire A. Nivola.
Mama Miti, by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Wangari Maathai, the Woman who Plants Millions of Trees, by Franck Prevot, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty.
What You Can Do
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