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A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai ˈeɪ ˈtaɪni ˈsid ˈðə ˈstɔɹi ˈəv @wangari @maathai

Written by Nicola Rijsdijk

Illustrated by Maya Marshak

Read by Darshan Soni

Language English

Level Level 3

Narrate full story

Autoplay story


In a village on the slopes of Mount Kenya in East Africa, a little girl worked in the fields with her mother. Her name was Wangari.

In a village on the slopes of Mount Kenya in East Africa, a little girl worked in the fields with her mother. Her name was Wangari.

ˈɪn ˈeɪ ˈvɪɫədʒ ˈɑn ˈðə ˈsɫoʊps ˈəv ˈmaʊnt ˈkɛnjə ˈɪn ˈist ˈæfɝkə ˈeɪ ˈɫɪtəɫ ˈɡɝɫ ˈwɝkt ˈɪn ˈðə ˈfiɫdz ˈwɪð ˈhɝ ˈməðɝ ˈhɝ ˈneɪm ˈwɑz @wangari


Wangari loved being outside. In her family’s food garden she broke up the soil with her machete. She pressed tiny seeds into the warm earth.

Wangari loved being outside. In her family's food garden she broke up the soil with her machete. She pressed tiny seeds into the warm earth.

@wangari ˈɫəvd ˈbiɪŋ ˈaʊtˈsaɪd ˈɪn ˈhɝ ˈfæməɫiz ˈfud ˈɡɑɹdən ˈʃi ˈbɹoʊk ˈəp ˈðə ˈsɔɪɫ ˈwɪð ˈhɝ məˈʃɛˌti ˈʃi ˈpɹɛst ˈtaɪni ˈsidz ˈɪntu ˈðə ˈwɔɹm ˈɝθ


Her favourite time of day was just after sunset. When it got too dark to see the plants, Wangari knew it was time to go home. She would follow the narrow paths through the fields, crossing rivers as she went.

Her favourite time of day was just after sunset. When it got too dark to see the plants, Wangari knew it was time to go home. She would follow the narrow paths through the fields, crossing rivers as she went.

ˈhɝ ˈfeɪvɝɪt ˈtaɪm ˈəv ˈdeɪ ˈwɑz ˈdʒəst ˈæftɝ ˈsənˌsɛt ˈhwɛn ˈɪt ˈɡɑt ˈtu ˈdɑɹk ˈtu ˈsi ˈðə ˈpɫænts @wangari ˈnju ˈɪt ˈwɑz ˈtaɪm ˈtu ˈɡoʊ ˈhoʊm ˈʃi ˈwʊd ˈfɑɫoʊ ˈðə ˈnæɹoʊ ˈpæðz ˈθɹu ˈðə ˈfiɫdz ˈkɹɔsɪŋ ˈɹɪvɝz ˈæz ˈʃi ˈwɛnt


Wangari was a clever child and couldn’t wait to go to school. But her mother and father wanted her to stay and help them at home. When she was seven years old, her big brother persuaded her parents to let her go to school.

Wangari was a clever child and couldn't wait to go to school. But her mother and father wanted her to stay and help them at home. When she was seven years old, her big brother persuaded her parents to let her go to school.

@wangari ˈwɑz ˈeɪ ˈkɫɛvɝ ˈtʃaɪɫd ˈænd ˈkʊdən ˈweɪt ˈtu ˈɡoʊ ˈtu ˈskuɫ ˈbət ˈhɝ ˈməðɝ ˈænd ˈfɑðɝ ˈwɔntɪd ˈhɝ ˈtu ˈsteɪ ˈænd ˈhɛɫp ˈðɛm ˈæt ˈhoʊm ˈhwɛn ˈʃi ˈwɑz ˈsɛvən ˈjɪɹz ˈoʊɫd ˈhɝ ˈbɪɡ ˈbɹəðɝ pɝˈsweɪdɪd ˈhɝ ˈpɛɹənts ˈtu ˈɫɛt ˈhɝ ˈɡoʊ ˈtu ˈskuɫ


She liked to learn! Wangari learnt more and more with every book she read. She did so well at school that she was invited to study in the United States of America. Wangari was excited! She wanted to know more about the world.

She liked to learn! Wangari learnt more and more with every book she read. She did so well at school that she was invited to study in the United States of America. Wangari was excited! She wanted to know more about the world.

ˈʃi ˈɫaɪkt ˈtu ˈɫɝn @wangari ˈɫɝnt ˈmɔɹ ˈænd ˈmɔɹ ˈwɪð ˈɛvɝi ˈbʊk ˈʃi ˈɹɛd ˈʃi ˈdɪd ˈsoʊ ˈwɛɫ ˈæt ˈskuɫ ˈðæt ˈʃi ˈwɑz ˌɪnˈvaɪtəd ˈtu ˈstədi ˈɪn ˈðə juˈnaɪtɪd ˈsteɪts ˈəv əˈmɛɹəkə @wangari ˈwɑz ɪkˈsaɪtəd ˈʃi ˈwɔntɪd ˈtu ˈnoʊ ˈmɔɹ əˈbaʊt ˈðə ˈwɝɫd


At the American university Wangari learnt many new things. She studied plants and how they grow. And she remembered how she grew: playing games with her brothers in the shade of the trees in the beautiful Kenyan forests.

At the American university Wangari learnt many new things. She studied plants and how they grow. And she remembered how she grew: playing games with her brothers in the shade of the trees in the beautiful Kenyan forests.

ˈæt ˈðə əˈmɛɹəkən ˌjunəˈvɝsəti @wangari ˈɫɝnt ˈmɛni ˈnju ˈθɪŋz ˈʃi ˈstədid ˈpɫænts ˈænd ˈhaʊ ˈðeɪ ˈɡɹoʊ ˈænd ˈʃi ɹiˈmɛmbɝd ˈhaʊ ˈʃi ˈɡɹu ˈpɫeɪɪŋ ˈɡeɪmz ˈwɪð ˈhɝ ˈbɹəðɝz ˈɪn ˈðə ˈʃeɪd ˈəv ˈðə ˈtɹiz ˈɪn ˈðə ˈbjutəfəɫ ˈkɛnjən ˈfɔɹəsts


The more she learnt, the more she realised that she loved the people of Kenya. She wanted them to be happy and free. The more she learnt, the more she remembered her African home.

The more she learnt, the more she realised that she loved the people of Kenya. She wanted them to be happy and free. The more she learnt, the more she remembered her African home.

ˈðə ˈmɔɹ ˈʃi ˈɫɝnt ˈðə ˈmɔɹ ˈʃi ˈɹiəˌɫaɪzd ˈðæt ˈʃi ˈɫəvd ˈðə ˈpipəɫ ˈəv ˈkɛnjə ˈʃi ˈwɔntɪd ˈðɛm ˈtu ˈbi ˈhæpi ˈænd ˈfɹi ˈðə ˈmɔɹ ˈʃi ˈɫɝnt ˈðə ˈmɔɹ ˈʃi ɹiˈmɛmbɝd ˈhɝ ˈæfɹəkən ˈhoʊm


When she had finished her studies, she returned to Kenya. But her country had changed. Huge farms stretched across the land. Women had no wood to make cooking fires. The people were poor and the children were hungry.

When she had finished her studies, she returned to Kenya. But her country had changed. Huge farms stretched across the land. Women had no wood to make cooking fires. The people were poor and the children were hungry.

ˈhwɛn ˈʃi ˈhæd ˈfɪnɪʃt ˈhɝ ˈstədiz ˈʃi ɹiˈtɝnd ˈtu ˈkɛnjə ˈbət ˈhɝ ˈkəntɹi ˈhæd ˈtʃeɪndʒd ˈhjudʒ ˈfɑɹmz ˈstɹɛtʃt əˈkɹɔs ˈðə ˈɫænd ˈwɪmən ˈhæd ˈnoʊ ˈwʊd ˈtu ˈmeɪk ˈkʊkɪŋ ˈfaɪɝz ˈðə ˈpipəɫ ˈwɝ ˈpuɹ ˈænd ˈðə ˈtʃɪɫdɹən ˈwɝ ˈhəŋɡɹi


Wangari knew what to do. She taught the women how to plant trees from seeds. The women sold the trees and used the money to look after their families. The women were very happy. Wangari had helped them to feel powerful and strong.

Wangari knew what to do. She taught the women how to plant trees from seeds. The women sold the trees and used the money to look after their families. The women were very happy. Wangari had helped them to feel powerful and strong.

@wangari ˈnju ˈhwət ˈtu ˈdu ˈʃi ˈtɔt ˈðə ˈwɪmən ˈhaʊ ˈtu ˈpɫænt ˈtɹiz ˈfɹəm ˈsidz ˈðə ˈwɪmən ˈsoʊɫd ˈðə ˈtɹiz ˈænd ˈjuzd ˈðə ˈməni ˈtu ˈɫʊk ˈæftɝ ˈðɛɹ ˈfæməɫiz ˈðə ˈwɪmən ˈwɝ ˈvɛɹi ˈhæpi @wangari ˈhæd ˈhɛɫpt ˈðɛm ˈtu ˈfiɫ ˈpaʊɝfəɫ ˈænd ˈstɹɔŋ


As time passed, the new trees grew into forests, and the rivers started flowing again. Wangari’s message spread across Africa. Today, millions of trees have grown from Wangari’s seeds.

As time passed, the new trees grew into forests, and the rivers started flowing again. Wangari's message spread across Africa. Today, millions of trees have grown from Wangari's seeds.

ˈæz ˈtaɪm ˈpæst ˈðə ˈnju ˈtɹiz ˈɡɹu ˈɪntu ˈfɔɹəsts ˈænd ˈðə ˈɹɪvɝz ˈstɑɹtɪd ˈfɫoʊɪŋ əˈɡeɪn @wangari's ˈmɛsədʒ ˈspɹɛd əˈkɹɔs ˈæfɝkə təˈdeɪ ˈmɪɫjənz ˈəv ˈtɹiz ˈhæv ˈɡɹoʊn ˈfɹəm @wangari's ˈsidz


Wangari had worked hard. People all over the world took notice, and gave her a famous prize. It is called the Nobel Peace Prize, and she was the first African woman ever to receive it.

Wangari had worked hard. People all over the world took notice, and gave her a famous prize. It is called the Nobel Peace Prize, and she was the first African woman ever to receive it.

@wangari ˈhæd ˈwɝkt ˈhɑɹd ˈpipəɫ ˈɔɫ ˈoʊvɝ ˈðə ˈwɝɫd ˈtʊk ˈnoʊtəs ˈænd ˈɡeɪv ˈhɝ ˈeɪ ˈfeɪməs ˈpɹaɪz ˈɪt ˈɪz ˈkɔɫd ˈðə noʊˈbɛɫ ˈpis ˈpɹaɪz ˈænd ˈʃi ˈwɑz ˈðə ˈfɝst ˈæfɹəkən ˈwʊmən ˈɛvɝ ˈtu ɹəˈsiv ˈɪt


Wangari died in 2011, but we can think of her every time we see a beautiful tree.

Wangari died in 2011, but we can think of her every time we see a beautiful tree.

@wangari ˈdaɪd ˈɪn @2011 ˈbət ˈwi ˈkæn ˈθɪŋk ˈəv ˈhɝ ˈɛvɝi ˈtaɪm ˈwi ˈsi ˈeɪ ˈbjutəfəɫ ˈtɹi


Written by: Nicola Rijsdijk
Illustrated by: Maya Marshak
Read by: Darshan Soni
Language: English
Level 3
Source: A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai from African Storybook
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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