African American history meets present day as this biography of Wangari Maathai relates how she grew up in Kenya, traveled to the U.S. to go to school, then returned to find her country had been devastated by people using its resources and not replacing them. Her mission became to teach women how to plant trees and replenish the countryside. Her work also extends to fighting the government to preserve parks and land.
Students may predict that Wangari Maathai’s three grown children may want to follow in her footsteps because Wangari believed so strongly in her mission.
Cause and effect can be discussed in that because the trees were cut down, it had the effect of erosion.
How can doing work to help your country make you feel proud? The author says the women felt proud when they saw the trees growing again.
If the Fig tree was a sacred tree, what inference can be made about why it was also cut down? One could infer that the people were desperate for wood after all of the other trees were gone.
Mental Images: The author begins and ends the book with an image of the “earth clothed in its dress of green.”