Author: Jeanette Winter
Plot Summary: This is a true story about a woman from Kenya named Wangari Maathai.  As a child, she helps her family farm and collect wood from the forest.  When she does really well in school, she gets a scholarship to study in the Untied States.  When Wangari returns to her village, all the trees have been logged.  She decides to start planting more.  Her neighbors catch on and eventually a tree planting movement is started across Africa.  She is laughed at for her work and for being a woman, and even imprisoned when she tries to stop the cutting of trees.  In the end, she succeeds in restoring the forest around her village. 
Posted In: Ethics, Feminism

Discussion Questions
  • Why were all the trees in Wangari’s village cut down?
  • Why do we cut down trees?
  • Is it ever okay to cut down a tree?
  • Who is responsible for taking care of the land?
  • Who decides how the land is used?
  • Why does Wangari leave her village to study in the U.S.?  Why can’t she study in Africa?
  • Why is Wangari imprisoned for trying to protect trees?  Isn’t that a good thing?
  • Are laws always just?
  • Who decides who makes the laws?
  • Why are only women planting trees in this book?
  • Why do some people say, “Women can’t do this?”
  • Who decides what we can and cannot do?

Contributed by Morgan Lindberg