Resources for Teaching About Wangari Maathai and SEEDS OF CHANGE

Today is Wangari Maathai’s birthday! Wangari Maathai was the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peacewhich tells Wangari’s story, continues to be one of the most popular books that we publish!

In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday and upcoming Earth Day later this month, here’s a list of the many fantastic resources and ideas available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace:

Seeds of Change

Elementary School:

wangariMiddle School and High School:

  • Seeds Of Change won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration in 2011. The Committee Chair and Book Jury have prepared activities and discussion questions for Seeds Of Change in the 2011 Discussion Guide for Coretta Scott King Book Awards, P. 20-21.
  • Have students read and discuss author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler’s joint interview with Lee & Low, which covers the environment, their travels, and Wangari Maathai’s achievements.
  • After introducing Wangari Maathai with Seeds Of Change, delve deeper with the Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. They present an in-depth exploration on Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement, and sustainability issues.
  • In teaching standard 7 of the ELA Common Core, have students evaluate how Wangari Maathai is presented in a documentary compared to the Seeds Of Change biography. PBS’s documentary on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, contains a classroom section full of video modules, handouts, and lesson plans.

Seeds of ChangeWhat did we miss? Let us know how you are using Seeds Of Change in your classroom!


Purchase a copy of Seeds of Change here!


Further Reading:

Remembering Wangari Maathai

Planting Seeds of Change Around the World

Compiling Rigorous Thematic Texts: Books Set in Kenya

Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Round Up

Book List: 11 Children’s Books About Human Rights

10 Great Women of Color Whose Stories You Should Know

School Library Journal: Inquiry and Integration Across the Curriculum: Global Citizenry

Kid World Citizen: Introduce Kids To Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai: “Mama Mati


Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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