Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa By Jeanette Winter

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  1. After studying abroad in Kenya last semester, I really enjoyed listening to your podcast especially since I was in Nairobi when it was announced that she had passed away in late September.

    I thought your comments on the book's portrayal of the West's influence was very interesting. While she was connected to the US, especially since she was educated in the US through the 1959 African Student Airlift, the book does seem to ignore her education in Kenya. One would think it would be important to highlight the fact that she was the first woman to obtain a PhD in East and Central Africa.

    I also agree with your point on the conclusion. While children's books tend to have uplifting endings, highlighting the significance of being more environmentally conscientious is an important message that Wangari Maathai would want to share with the book's readers.

  2. I found this podcast to be exceptionally well done. Small but important details such as Wangari being educated prior to the scholarship she received to study abroad and lack of emphasis on multiculturalism and continuing on her legacy. This reminds me of a clip from TEDtalks presented a few years ago called “The Danger of a Single Story” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie. She speaks of the unintended consequences of reading stories as children that although allowed her to explore different worlds, did not reflect her own. She discusses the stereotypes that exist because of stories that misrepresent people, nations, and concepts because only one kind of story is ever being told. I wonder if the author understands how her depiction of Wangari will impact generations.