rothThis inspiring book works at lots of different levels for lots of different readers. First, it’s a simple cumulative story for preschoolers, like “This is the house that Jack Built”:

“This is the tree, a mangrove tree.

These are the trees, mangrove trees, that were planted by the sea.”

And so on, we hear the story of mangrove trees being planted to reclaim marginal land.

This first, simple level, works as a read-aloud. But the authors also include on every page a sidebar that tells in more detail about the initiative to reclaim land in Eritrea to fight against famine. Parents and older kids would gobble up these details.

And finally, the back matter (8 pages of text and photos!) tells the story of the American scientist, Gordon Sato, who dreamt up the idea of relieving hunger by planting these trees and about how his experiences in an internment camp during World War II led to this idea. I felt inspired and uplifted by his vision and his tenacity.

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families, by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore. Lee & Low: 2011.