Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

14 Cows for America

Spanish Edition: 14 Vacas para América 

by Carmen Agra Deedy
illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah

A New York Times Best Seller

This now-classic picture book recounts the true story of a touching gift bestowed on the United States by a tribe of Maasai Warriors in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

“Lovely… beautifully evocative.” ―Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times 

“Moving and dramatically illustrated.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Elegant…suspenseful…The colors of Kenya explode off the page.” ―School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

In June of 2002, a mere nine months since the September 11 attacks, a very unusual ceremony begins in a far-flung village in western Kenya. An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed upon the American men, women, and children, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unexpected as it is extraordinary.

Hearts are raw as these legendary Maasai warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away. Word of the gift will travel newswires around the globe, and for the heartsick American nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope―and friendship.

This New York Times best seller recounts the true story from Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah of the touching gift bestowed on the United States by a tribe of Maasai Warriors in the wake of the September 11 attacks. With stunning paintings from Thomas Gonzalez, master storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy (in collaboration with Naiyomah) hits all the right notes in this elegant story of generosity that crosses boundaries, nations, and cultures.

Best Children’s Books of the Year (Starred) – Bank Street College of Education

Notable Books for a Global Society – International Reading Associatio

E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor – Association of Booksellers for Children

Parents’ Choice Gold Award – Parents’ Choice Foundation

Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-490-7
Publication Date: 8/1/2009
Page Count: 36
Size: 10-5/8″ x 10″
Age Range: 6 – 10
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $8.99
ISBN: 978-1-56145-961-2
Publication Date: 8/1/2016
Page Count: 36
Size: 11-5/8″ x 10″
Age Range: 6 –10
Language: English
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-68263-111-9
Age Range: 6 –10
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

AR Level: 4.1
F&P: GRL S, Gr 4, Genre HF
Lexile: AD540L
Themes: Compassion, Generosity, the Maasai, September 11
BISAC 1: JNF025250 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / United States / 21st Century
BISAC 2: JNF038010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Africa


“A lovely picture book… beautifully evocative…” ―Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times

“Moving and dramatically illustrated…” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Elegant sentences… 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 moving tale of compassion and generosity.” ―Publishers Weekly

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“A stirring, heartwarming tale that made headlines when it happened – and is now, thankfully, preserved on the page for children.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“The words and the glowing mixed-media illustrations show empathy and connections across communities”. ―Booklist

“I dare you to read this special picture book without getting teary every time.” ―Library Media Connection, STARRED REVIEW

“It could generate some excellent discussion in classrooms and families.” ―Huffington Post

“We believe that a book like 14 Cows for America can be used to advance standards-based learning in the early grades…it offers an introduction both to the events of 9/11 and to the culture of a people thousands of miles away who extended sympathy to the people of the United States.” ―Social Education Magazine

“An extraordinary true story of generosity, compassion and hope, 14 Cows for America is rich on multiple levels for young and old alike.” ―Books to Borrow, Books to Buy



Best Children’s Books of the Year (Starred) – Bank Street College of Education, 2010

Notable Books for a Global Society – International Reading Association, 2010

E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor – Association of Booksellers for Children, 2010

Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People – National Council for Social Studies/Children’s Book Council, 2010

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Teachers’ Choices (Intermediate) – International Reading Association, 2010

Parents’ Choice Gold Award – Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2009

CCBC Choices (Historical People, Places and Events) – Cooperative Children, 2010

Cybils (Finalist, Non-fiction Picture Books) – Cybils, 2009

Comstock Book Award – Minnesota State University Moorhead, 2010

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate) – Kansas National Education Association, 2010

Texas Bluebonnet Award (Master List) – Texas Library Association, 2010-2011

Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee, Intermediate) – Association for Indiana Media Educators, 2011-2012

California Young Reader Medal (Nominee, Picture Book for Older Readers) – California Library Association, CRA, CATE, CSLA, 2013-2014

Beehive Award (Information Book Nominee) – Children’s Literature Association of Utah, 2011

Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award (Nominee) – Kansas Reading Association, 2011

Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee, Picture Book) – Maryland Association of School Librarians, 2010-2011

Bluestem Book Award (Master List) – Illinois School Library Media Association, 2012

Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List (Primary) – New York State Reading Association, 2012

Colorado Children’s Book Award (Nominee) – Colorado Council of the International Reading Association, 2011

Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award (Nominee) – University of Georgia, 2012-2013

Great Lakes’ Great Books Award (Nominee, Grades 2-3) – Michigan Reading Association, 2010-2011

KC3 Reading Program (Nominee) – Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians, 2011-2012

Land of Enchantment Book Awards (Picture Narrative Master List) – New Mexico Library Association, New Mexico Council of IRA, 2011-2012

North Carolina’s Children’s Book Award (Nominee, Junior Book) – North Carolina Reading Association, 2011

Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award (Nominee) – Oregon Reading Association, 2017-2018

Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Award (Nominee) – South Dakota Library Association, SDRC, SD State Library, SDESP, 2011-2012

South Carolina Picture Book Award (Nominee) – South Carolina Association of School Librarians, 2011-2012

Volunteer State Book Awards (Master List, Grades PreK-2) – Tennessee Association of School Librarians, 2013-2014

Best Books for Kids (Multicultural Category) – Page Ahead, 2010

Read Alouds Too Good to Miss – AISLE, 2011-2012

Selected Book for Georgia – National Book Festival, 2009

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Social Studies, Grades K-6) – Society of School Librarians International 2010.

UMW Reading Program – United Methodist Women 2012


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Meet the Author

Author Carmen Agra Deedy

Carmen Agra Deedy, a New York Times bestselling author, has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than twenty years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Carmen has performed in many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. She lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Thomas Gonzalez is an illustrator, designer, and portrait artist. A native of Cuba, Tom came to the United States when he was ten years old. He studied at the Atlanta School of Art (now called Savannah of Art and Design). After working at the Coca-Cola Company for more than twenty years, Tom held several creative positions with other global brands. He has illustrated many picture books, including 14 Cows for AmericaSeven and a Half Tons of Steel, and Countdown. He lives in Georgia. You can visit his website here.

Additional Contributors

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 completed studies in international development policy at Duke University.