14 Cows for America – Carmen Agra Deedy, in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah


Image from amazon.com

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers; Reprint edition (August 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561459615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561459612

EXCERPT from School Library Journal:
Starred Review. Grade 2–5—Kimeli Naiyomah returned home to his Maasai village from New York City with news of 9/11 terrorist attacks. His story prompted the villagers to give a heartfelt gift to help America heal. Deedy and Gonzalez bring Naiyomah’s story to life with pithy prose and vibrant illustrations. Each block of text consists of a few short, elegant sentences: “A child asks if he has brought any stories. Kimeli nods. He has brought with him one story. It has burned a hole in his heart.” 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: rich blues, flaming oranges, fire-engine reds, and chocolate browns. Full-page spreads depict the Maasai people and their land so realistically as to be nearly lifelike. Gonzalez manages to break the fourth wall and draw readers in as real-time observers. The book’s only flaw is the less-than-concrete ending: “…there is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort” is an important message, but not a particularly satisfying one for children. Fortunately, their questions will be answered by Naiyomah’s endnote, and it provides a fitting conclusion to this breathtaking chronicle.—Rebecca Dash, New York Public Library

Rationale for Inclusion:
This book introduces young readers to the sensitive topic of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but expands the reader’s horizon to include a more global perspective. It also incorporates cultural literacy, and the message that the human experience supersedes geography and nationality.

Hear 14 Cows for America read aloud.

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