Mama Miti

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Wangari grew up in a Kenya covered in trees.  When she moved and lived in the city, she still planted tress in her backyard.  They refreshed her spirit whenever she sat under them.  Poor women started coming to Wangari for advice and it was always the same, she advised them to plant trees.  Trees could feed them, give them fire wood, feed animals, provide medicine, keep out predators, and build new homes.  The trees returned to Kenya and so did the strength of the country.

Beautifully illustrated by Kadir Nelson, this version of Wangari’s story is delightful.  Napoli tells the true story with nod towards oral storytelling.  Her text reads aloud beautifully with a rhythm and cadence that really work well.  Her use of repetition is done with restraint, adding to the sense of heritage and lore.  Nelson’s illustrations are exquisite.  Done in oil paints and fabrics, they too are about heritage and a sense of place.  The faces of the people throughout the book have a strength and a presence that will have readers lingering over them. 

A lovely book about an inspiring figure who teaches us that each person can have an enormous impact upon their nation and the environment.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

Also reviewed by Homegrown Families, The Booknosher, Jump Into a Book, Books for Kids, Kiss the Book, Advice from a Caterpillar, and Brimful Curiosities.

One thought on “Mama Miti

  1. I just read Napoli’s YA book, Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale. I knew she had other YA books but did not know she had also gotten into children’s lit. This sounds like a wonderful book.


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