It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since September 11, 2001. Harder still to believe is that there are many teachers who face the challenge of explaining what happened to a new generation of students who were too young at the time to remember what happened or who were not yet even born. This daunting task will be difficult, but it is important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
This weekend, let us look to our younger generation with hope for the future as we discuss with them the importance of remembering the past.
Carmen Deedy’s New York Times bestselling title 14 Cows for America is a great way to start the conversation. The Wall Street Journal noted that “of all the expressions of consolation sent to a grieving America after 9/11, perhaps none was as poignant as the gift of 14 cows from Maasai tribesman in a remote corner of Kenya. How the offering came about is the subject of this moving and dramatically illustrated picture book.”
About the book:
14 Cows for America
by Carmen Agra Deedy, in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
$17.75 / 9781561454907 / Ages 6-10
The Big Gift of Compassion One Small Kenyan Village Made to the American People
14 Cows for America is the true story of Maasai tribesman and Stanford University student Kimeli Naiyomah. On September 11, 2001, while visiting the United Nations headquarters in New York, he witnessed the catastrophic events that changed our nation forever.
The young man traveled back to his home, a remote village in Western Kenya, with a heavy-burdened heart to bring the story to his tribe. The village had not heard about the collapse of the twin towers in New York and when Kimeli told them about this event that had “burned a hole in his heart,” they could hardly understand its scope.
As a gift of support and compassion, the village reacted to Kimeli’s sorrow by offering the thing that most supported life for them: a herd of cows, the ultimate gift a Massai can give. The Maasai people are nomadic cattle herders. To the tribe, the cow equals life.
With stunning illustrations of the Kenyan landscape and people, and simple, moving text, 14 Cows for America, is a story of hope and generosity in the face of tragedy with the message that comfort, solace, and aid can come from the most unexpected places.
Carmen Agra Deedy has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for almost twenty years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Born in Havana, she lives in the Atlanta area and can be found online at www.carmendeedy.com.
Thomas Gonzalez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. Tom originally trained as an artist and painter, and went on to become an illustrator with a wide range of clients from Delta Airlines to Coca-Cola. 14 Cows for America is his first picture book. Gonzalez currently lives with his daughter and wife in the Atlanta area.
Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah received his master of science degree in molecular biology from Stanford University in 2008. He was awarded a Rotary International World Peace Fellowship and will begin studies in peace and conflict resolution at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in spring 2010.
Praise for 14 Cows for America:
“A lovely picture book…beautifully evocative…”
— The New York Times
“…moving and dramatically illustrated…”
— The Wall Street Journal
“Rarely do books for children address the bridging of cultural difference on a grand scale.”
“A moving tale of compassion and generosity.”
“The suspenseful pace is especially striking when surrounded by Gonzalez’s exquisite colored pencil and pastel illustrations. The colors of Kenya explode off the page.”
—School Library Journal (Starred Review)
“A stirring, heartwarming tale that made headlines when it happened—and is now, thankfully, preserved on the page for children.”
“…the words and the glowing mixed-media illustrations
show empathy and connections across communities…”
Awards and Honors:
2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
2010 CCBC Choice
Nominee, 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award, Association of Booksellers for Children