Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

By Jen Johnson
Illustrated by Sonia Sadler

Hardcover: $19.95


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.

Also available in Spanish as Semillas de cambio: Sembrando un camino hacia la paz!

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

Check out educator lesson plan and 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 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.

Learning to Give, an organization focused on philanthropy education resources for students, has created a Seeds of Change literature guide available for educators. 

About the Creators

Thumb_thumb Jen Johnson - Author

JEN CULLERTON JOHNSON is a writer, an educator, and an environmentalist with master’s degrees in nonfiction writing and curriculum development. She teaches at both the elementary and college levels in Chicago, where she also conducts writing workshops. Johnson can be found online at

Thumb_thumb Sonia Sadler

SONIA SADLER was an illustrator and a fine artist who 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 drew inspiration from quilts and employed a variety of techniques and mediums—from watercolor to scratchboard. She passed away in September 2013.