Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wangari's Trees of Peace

Title: Wangari's Trees of Peace
True Story From Africa

Author and Illustrator: Jeanette Winter

Age Group: Ages 5-7

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Lesson Plan Ideas


Wangari's Tree of Peace is about a girl who lived in small village in Kenya who made a difference that the world could see. Before she goes to school in America she remembers her childhood in Kenya as a place full of beautiful green trees. When she returns to Kenya she sees that the trees that once stood were now destroyed for the new buildings that would rise. Wangari would not stand for this to happen and with one seed at a time and the cooperation of the women in her village she starts a movement across Africa to replant all the trees that had once been chopped. Wangari was jailed for protecting the forest but even then she did not give up and every tree that was destroyed and many more were planted all across Africa by millions of women.


Wangari was an ordinary girl who was concerned about the trees that were chopped from her village. Her concerns lead her not only to plant seedlings in her own backyard but had other women come together with her and start a movement of planting trees. This book truly teaches Social Justice because one woman was able to make a such a big difference in not only her community but world wide. She empowered women to come together and plant the trees regardless of the men attempting to destroy their work. Students learn that something as small as planting a tree can make a huge change. Wangari Maathai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1994 for her Green Belt Movement.


I could teach this book in two settings: teaching about the environment in a science lesson and teaching about social change and movement in a history lessons. Children can learn about the importance of trees and the environment through the book. I would also use this book to show children of all ages that anyone can make a difference maybe have the children take part in some sort of social change big or small.

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