This week we are celebrating two artists who took part in The Children’s Bookshow in 2018: author Franck Prévot and illustrator Aurélia Fronty. They took the stage at L’institut Francais to talk about their book Wangari Maathai: The Woman who Planted Millions of Trees, with translator Sarah Ardizzone.
Franck and Sarah talked about the book and the life of Wangari Maathai who through her environmental and political activism brought better farming conditions and peace to villages across Eastern Africa through the act of planting millions of trees. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Throughout the event Aurélia Fronty drew live on stage illustrating the discussion. It was magical to watch!
Book of the Week: Wangari Maathai: The Woman who Planted Millions of TreesIn 2015 The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees was published. It tells the story of Wangari Maathai who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years.
Author in focus
Franck PrevotFranck Prévot was born in Bourg-en-Bresse in 1968. He studied writing, business, and education. After he became a father, he rediscovered children’s literature with his children and students. He is the author of several picture books. He loves to tell stories, talk about books, and play with words.
Aurélia FrontyBorn in France in 1973, Aurélia Fronty, illustrator of The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees, knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist. She was brought up in an artistic environment where she was forever drawing, painting and creating. She has always been a keen traveller and has taken many trips across Africa and Asia that have inspired and influenced her art. Aurélia has illustrated over 40 books, posters and prints for children.
Watch this reading of Wangari Maathai: The Woman who Planted Millions of Trees
Create a Tree of Hope
‘She dug holes with them in the red soil – holes in which to plant hope for today and forests for tomorrow.’
Create your own adaptation of this image from the story adding your own hopes and dreams to make a ‘Tree of Hope’.
You will need:
- A large piece of plain paper
- A pencil/pen/felt tip
- A range of recycled collage materials (e.g. food packaging, fabric from old clothes, leaves, junk mail etc)
What to do:
- Draw around your hand and then add thin branches coming from the end of your finger-tips.
- Colour in the hand and wrist as if it is the trunk of the tree.
- Cut out various shapes and sizes of leaves from the different collage materials which you have collected.
- Think about some hopes and dreams you have for the future. These could be personal to your own life, relate to family and friends, or to the whole world. Write these on some of your leaf shapes.
- Stick the leaves at various points along your branches, joining each one by drawing a small stem onto the branch.
Go on a Nature Walk
Being at home has given many people the opportunity to head outdoors more and explore the nature which is on their doorstep. Taking the time to explore and appreciate your natural environment can have a really positive effect on your mental and physical wellbeing. Next time you head out on a walk, take the time to pause and appreciate the nature around you. What can you see, hear, smell and feel? Collect natural mementos from your walk and add them to a journey stick or a nature bracelet.
‘A Tree is Worth More Than Its Wood’
Wangari was inspired by her mother’s expression that a tree is worth more than its wood. What do you think she meant by this? Do some research to find out why trees are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystem and then represent your findings creatively. You could present your ideas using a free online word art generator or have a go at drawing a picture instead.
We’d love to see your trees of hope, and tree pictures, and find out about your nature walks. To send us your work to display in our gallery use the link below, or upload to twitter with the hashtag #BookshowAtHome.