Tuesday, November 13, 2012

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated Thomas Gonzalez in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah

Reviewed by Miss Dewey at Orenda

Four paw prints.  In September 2001, Kimeli saw something so horrible he knew his life would never  be the same.  He was in America studying to be a doctor and on September 11 he happened to be in New York City.  Months later he returned to his village in Kenya and as is the tradition he was asked to tell a story about his experiences.  Before he could tell his story he had to make sure the village elders were aware of what had happened.  They were not.  After sharing his experiences with the elders and then the other villagers, Kimeli made an offer, a gift, to the people of America.  Kimeli offered a single cow, the only cow he owned.  Other villagers also made offerings and in the end there were 14 cows for America.  The American Ambassador was invited to the village for a special ceremony to present the cows to America.  He was so moved by what he saw, he cried.  You may be wondering what is so special about a cow.  Cows are expensive (it took Kimeli many years to save enough money for ONE cow), cows provide milk, cows provide meat, cows are part of a family...COWS ARE LIFE to the people in Kenya.  I really enjoyed this book.  More and more books are coming out about 9/11, but that doesn't make them all good.  This book is one of the good ones.  It's a unique perspective on an event that is well known around the world.  The only thing that I don't care for is the style of the art work.  I prefer illustrations that are a little more defined, especially if the story is intended for elementary students.  (But this, of course, is just a personal preference.)  If you want to learn more about the real Kimeli and the cows, visit http://www.14cowsforamerica.com.
327.67 Dee

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