Title: The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
Author: Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Concepts: scarcity, poverty, natural resources
Review: Years of conflict, economic stagnation, and famine had taken a toll on the people of the Eritrean village Hargigo. They suffered from malnutrition and struggled to improve their well-being until an innovative idea led to dramatic changes in the local food chain. A cell biologist named Dr. Gordon Sato started a project to grow mangrove trees by the shore of the salty Red Sea so that the local herds of sheep and goats could eat the leaves as a new food source.
Women who planted and tended the seedlings received training in fertilizing the young trees with special nutrients that would allow the trees to grow in salt water, and shepherds learned how to complement the mangrove leaves with seeds and fish so the herds would produce healthier milk. The local fishermen brought home larger catches because the mangrove roots served as homes for small sea creatures that attracted bigger fish.
This picture book offers young readers an interesting account of an influential cell biologist whose research and activism have made a real difference in a vulnerable community. The mixed media collage illustrations go a long way to engage the reader, and the straightforward text and alternating verse present the narrative in terms that younger readers will readily understand. The book conveys an important message about devising innovative ways to improve food security and is highly recommended.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children