Eco Girl

Illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max

“Dad told Eve how each tree has its own special part to play in the world, taking care of animals and people.”

Eve loves the nearby forest so much that she tells her parents, “I wish I was a baobab so I could talk to the trees.” Her mother informs her that “being a tree is all about patience” and Eve practices using patience by waiting for her juice. Her father tells her about the role that trees take in caring for the living things around them, so Eve provides for the birds of the forest by pouring birdseed to feed them. The story culminates in Eve’s birthday visit to her grandmother in the forest. Grandma surprises Eve with a plant, a pebble, and a trowel. Together, they plant Eve’s baobab tree sapling next to Eve’s father’s tree, which stands next to his mother’s tree, and so on for generations, representing their family’s role as stewards of the earth.

Eco Girl is a great conversation starter for how we can help the earth through direct action. This book would pair well with conversations surrounding deforestation and how nature works together to create a balanced environment. Ken Wilson-Max was born and raised in Zimbabwe, contributing to the African climate action focus of Eco Girl. Educators may use this to talk about ecosystems throughout different global regions, the importance of native plants, and how different cultures interact with their natural environment. It is implied that Eve and her family are indigenous to the land of and surrounding this forest with the baobab tree being native to Africa. The last few pages of Eco Girl include additional tree facts that can inspire readers and offer paths for further learning. They would also be useful to educators looking to create a lesson centered on this picture book.

©2024 ClimateLit (Rachelle Saint Louis)

More:

  • The Great Green Wall project is mentioned in an additional section at the end of the story that includes tree facts. This project “is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa.” More information is available on their website: https://thegreatgreenwall.org/about-great-green-wall
  • Wangari Maathai is also mentioned in the additional facts section. She made history as the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work in Kenya and creation of the Green Belt Movement. For more information, check out https://wangarimaathai.org/wangaris-story/

Publisher: Candlewick, 2017

Pages: 32

ISBN: 9781536228090

Audience: Little People (4-7)

Format: Picturebooks

Topics: BIPOC Protagonist, Biodiversity, Black Land Stewardship, Conservation, Deforestation, Earth Stewardship, Ecocentrism, Ecological Balance, Ecosystems, Environmental Justice, Indigenous Environmental Practices, Indigenous Land Care, Land Care, Land Ethic, Land Stewardship, Native Plants, Nature, Nearby Nature, Regrowth, Sustainability, Trees

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