Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

By Jen Johnson
Illustrated by Sonia Sadler

Hardcover: $18.95

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.

For grade-specific ideas, here are a range of classroom resources for learning about Wangari Maathai and using Seeds of Change.

Check out educator activities for Seeds of Change, a title featured in RIF’s Multicultural Book Collections. To find other free activities that inspire young readers as well as learn more about Reading Is Fundamental, visit us at

Check out activities and discussion topics for Seeds of Change in the Coretta Scott King Book Awards 2011 Discussion Guide created by the 2011 CSK Book Awards Committee.

Check out the lesson plan created by Africa Access, founded to help inform the public about quality K–12 books on Africa.

Check out activities and discussion questions to teach about and celebrate women in STEM from the STEM Friday blog.

Discover more reading and craft tips created by the staff and partners of Reading to Kids, a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading.

About the Creators

Thumb_thumb Jen Johnson - Author

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 Seeds of Change is her first picture book.

Thumb_thumb Sonia 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.