I Am Famer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon
Baptiste & Miranda Paul, Authors
Elizabeth Zunon, Illustrator
Millbrook Press, Nonfiction, Feb. 5, 2019
Suitable for Ages: 7-11
Themes: Farmer, Agriculture, Cameroon, Environmentalism, Making a difference
Opening: This is Northwestern Cameroon. Green. Wet. Alive. The rainy season has begun.
Book Synopsis: When Tantoh Nforba was a child, he loved the dirt and all that grew in his grandmother’s garden. In school, his fellow students mocked him by calling him Farmer. His older brother told him to study hard so he could one day get a job in an office. But Tantoh knew that wasn’t the right path for him. Instead he listened to his heart.
Today Tantoh is proud to call himself Farmer. Farmer Tantoh is an environmental leader, bringing clean water and bountiful organic gardens to the central African nation of Cameroon. He is also the founder of the international charity Save Your Future Association.
Why I like this book:
Baptiste and Miranda Paul’s book is my favorite kind of story to share — children who see a problem and try to make a difference in their communities. In this case it is a boy from Cameroon, Tantoh Nforba, who loves nature, gardening and farming. He learns as much as he can from his grandmother and at school, eventually studies agriculture in the United States and returns to help his country. He finds ways to save the rain, find clean underground water and grow crops without poisoning the soil. It is also a story about how Tantoh discovers his greatest resources is the people in his community who work together to produce food, flowers and green spaces. This is a book for readers who want to make a difference.
The full-page, mixed-media illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon are beautiful, colorful, and lively. Many include collages which add texture and meaning to the story. The book also includes pictures of Farmer Tantoah, Cameroon, maps, Author’s Note, a glossary and many more pictures of the community at work.
Resources: Encourage your children to grow seeds during the winter so they can plant in their very own gardens in the spring and summer. Encourage them to get the hands dirty and tend to the watering, weeding and the harvesting of produce and flowers they grow. The book is an excellent resource for parents and teachers.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Reviewed from a purchased copy.