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Planting Trees to Feed Families

by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore & illustrated by Susan L. Roth

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60060-459-1
Publisher: Lee & Low

Here is a grand deed, as basic as a science-fair project, that had a profound application bringing health and economic bounty to a small coastal town, Hargigo, in Eritrea. Dr. Gordon Santo had a brainstorm: Why not plant mangrove trees in the waters off Hargigo? The leaves would feed the town’s hungry herds of sheep and goats and provide wood for fuel; the trees’ root system would attract fish (a food and revenue source); and the trees themselves would do what trees are so good at—converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. Roth’s artwork is a treat, cut-paper and fabric collages of intense, shimmering color on a ground of paper that is electric with thick veins of fiber (photos join glossary in backmatter). Roth and Trumbore’s cumulative verse goes about its merry way on the left page—“These are the shepherds / Who watch the goats / and watch the sheep / That eat the leaves”—while a narrative on the right takes readers on Santo’s journey. He has named the project Manzanar, after the internment camp where he was placed during World War II, because he wanted to turn that experience (where he first grew desert plants) into something good. Hitting home hard is the project’s simple practicality: no high-tech, no great infusions of capital or energy—in a word, motivating, in the best possible way. (Informational picture book. 6-9)