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Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

By Jen Cullerton Johnson

Illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler


As a young girl in Kenya, Wangari was taught to respect nature. She grew up loving the land, plants, and animals that surrounded her—from the giant mugumo trees her people, the Kikuyu, revered to the tiny tadpoles that swam in the river.

Although most Kenyan girls were not educated, Wangari, curious and hardworking, was allowed to go to school. There, her mind sprouted like a seed. She excelled at science and went on to study in the United States. After returning home, Wangari blazed a trail across Kenya, using her knowledge and compassion to promote the rights of her countrywomen and to help save the land, one tree at a time.

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace brings to life the empowering story of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman, and environmentalist, to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Engaging narrative and vibrant images paint a robust portrait of this inspiring champion of the land and of women’s rights.

Booktalk with author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler

Desktop Wallpaper

Teacher's Guide

Check out more classroom resources for Seeds of Change for all grades.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustrations

Notable Children's Books
Smithsonian Magazine

2011 Best Book for Young Children
Children's Africana Book Award

Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award List, 2012-2013
Indiana Library Federation

2011 Notable Books for a Global Society list
International Reading Association

More awards...
Interest Level
Grades 1 - 6
Reading Level
Grades 3 - 4
Biography, African/African American Interest, Breaking Gender Barriers, Conflict resolution, Dreams & Aspirations, Education, Environment/Nature, Farming, Home, Occupations, Overcoming Obstacles, Religion/Spiritual, Responsibility, Sharing & Giving, Nonfiction, Nature/Science
About the Creators

Jen Cullerton Johnson is a writer, an educator, and an environmentalist with masters degrees in nonfiction writing and curriculum development. She has taught in countries all over the world and now teaches at an inner-city elementary school in Chicago, where she also conducts writing workshops. She is inspired by Wangari Maathai’s dedication to women and the environment. Johnson can be found online at jencullertonjohnson.com. Seeds of Change is her first picture book.

Sonia Lynn Sadler was an illustrator and a fine artist. Growing up she traveled to many countries and lived in five different states. Eventually landing in Maryland and New Jersey, Sadler focused on depicting the cultures, lives, and stories of peoples of African descent. Her book Seeds of Change earned her a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Her unique style employed a variety of techniques and mediums—from watercolor to scratchboard—and draws inspiration from quilts. She passed away in September 2013.

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