Wangari Maathai said, “Trees are living symbols of peace and hope.” The trees that she and her Green Belt Movement planted are more than symbols, they are the result of the hard work of the women she enlisted to replant Kenya’s forests, replenish the wildlife, and instill democracy among the people.
This simply told story begins with Wangari’s childhood at the foot of the volcano Mount Kenya where, as the oldest child in her family, her responsibility was to stay home and help her mother. But when the chance to go to school presented itself, she ran there. In the 1960s, she was awarded the opportunity to travel to the US to study, and there she saw that even in the land of the free, there were still places that black people were not welcome.
Returning home, Wangari was determined to help her people and her country. She recognized that the deforestation by plantation owners and politicians building cities was at the root of her country’s devastation. Her courage and confidence carried her through obstacles thrown up by her adversaries.
Author: Franck Prévot
Illustrator: Aurélia Fronty
Author Franck Prévot studied writing, business, and education. After he became a father, he rediscovered children’s literature with his children and students. He is the author of several picture books. He loves to tell stories, talk about books, and play with words.
Illustrator Aurélia Fronty is a freelance children’s book illustrator and textile designer and surrounded by colors and fabric. She completed her art education in design and textile design at the School of Applied Arts Duperré, in Paris, where she currently lives. Months after beginning her first job as a textile designer for the fashion design house, Christian Lacroix, she ventured out as a freelancer. Though she’s been drawing for nearly her entire life, trips to Asia and Africa inspired Fronty to fill sketchbooks with portraits, notes and impressions from places she visited.