LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today. Today, we are featuring one of our most popular titles of all time, Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace.
Featured Title: Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace
Author: Jen Cullerton Johnson
Illustrator: Sonia Lynn Sadler
Synopsis: As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her—from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river.
Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time.
Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace brings to life the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Engaging narrative and vibrant images paint a robust portrait of this inspiring champion of the land and of women’s rights.
Wangari’s story has inspired people around the world. In an interview, author Jen Cullerton Johnson says:
Wangari Maathai’s life is incredible. She is an environmentalist, scientist, and women’s right’s activist who inspired her country of Kenya to plant 30 million trees and in doing so helped give women skills to earn a living so they could feed their children. What moves me the most about Wangari’s story is her message of harabee, which means “let’s work together.” We can solve problems if we work together.
Awards and Honors:
- Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations, American Library Association
- Amelia Bloomer Project, American Library Association
- Notable Books for a Global Society, International Literacy Association
- Green Earth Book Award Honor Book, The Nature Generation
- Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award List, Indiana Library Association
- Notable Children’s Book, Smithsonian
Resources for teaching with Seeds of Change:
- Teacher’s guide from Lee & Low
- Discussion guide from the Coretta Scott King committee
- Lesson plan from Africa Access
- Reading and Craft Tips from Reading to Kids
- Explore what it means to be a global citizen with this lesson plan from School Library Journal
- Kid World Citizen shows how to use this book to teach cause and effect
- Celebrate STEM with these questions and activity suggestions.
Themes for teaching:
- Wangari Maathai was the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Pair this book with Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank to learn about two trailblazing Nobel Prize winners whose contributions helped improve lives. Celebrate them together
with this year’s winners (did you know that this year, six of America’s Nobel Prize laureates are immigrants?).
- Diversify your nonfiction collection with books about STEM innovators of color including Wangari Maathai, Soichiro Honda, Vivien Thomas, Muhammad Yunus, and Gordon Sato.
- Explore the topic of climate justice with books that cover the concepts of sustainability, biodiversity, and human impact on and responsibility towards our planet.
- We remember Seeds of Change illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler, who passed away in September 2013.
- Third-grade students from P.S. 368 in New York City review Seeds of Change.
- Author Jen Cullerton Johnson shares an amazing project that Brier Creek Elementary School took on to purchase a copy of Seeds of Change for every single person in their school: teachers, students, cafeteria workers, and administrators.
Have you used Seeds of Change? Let us know in the comments!
Celebrate with us! Check out the Lee & Low 25 Years Anniversary Collection.