The Matatu

Kioko had been watching the matatus come and go for as long as he could remember. But today, for his fifth birthday, he climbs aboard one with his grandfather. As the matatu pulls away from the market, the village dogs chase after them. When Kioko asks his grandfather why the dogs always bark and chase after matatus, his grandfather tells him an entertaining tale about a dog, a goat and a sheep. Set in East Africa, The Matatu is a colorful story filled with many unexpected turns and twists along the way.

The Wooden Camel

Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. One day he might even beat his older brother when they race. But with the price of water rising, Etabo’s father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? From acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Italian illustrator Manuela Adreani, this story of love and hope centers on the inspiring Turkana people of northwest Kenya. Told with gentleness and humor, it is a universal story about keeping one’s dreams alive.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.

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Walking Home

Set in both the wilds and slums of Kenya, a powerful story about a brother and sister’s brave journey to find a place to call home. 13-year-old Muchoki and his younger sister, Jata, can barely recognize what’s become of their lives. Only weeks ago they lived in a bustling Kenyan village, going to school, playing soccer with friends, and helping at their parents’ store. But sudden political violence has killed their father and destroyed their home. Now, Muchoki, Jata, and their ailing mother live in a tent in an overcrowded refugee camp. By day, they try to fend off hunger and boredom. By night, their fears about the future are harder to keep at bay. Driven by both hope and desperation, Muchoki and Jata set off on what seems like an impossible journey: to walk hundreds of kilometers to find their last remaining family.

Hope Springs

A drought has settled in the area around the orphanage where Boniface lives. There are long line-ups at the tiny spring where all the local people get their water, and suddenly the orphans are pushed to the back of the line, unwelcome. Boniface’s houseparent, Henry, tells him that the people were mean out of fear–they feared there would not be enough water for their families. When the building of the orphanage’s well is completed, Boniface has an idea to help the villagers

Community Soup

In a garden outside a Kenyan schoolhouse, children are working together to harvest the vegetables they have grown and make them into a soup for everyone to share. But Kioni is having trouble: her herd of mischievous goats followed her to school today and they are trying to eat all the vegetables. The ensuing chaos caused by the goats is cleverly resolved by the children, making their vegetable soup very tasty while saving Kioni’s four-legged intruders at the same time.

My Name Is Blessing

Based on a true story about a young Kenyan boy whose mother left him but had named him Muthini which meant suffering because he was born with no fingers on his left hand and only two on his right. Many times he was made fun of or avoided which hurt him deeply. He lives with his very elderly grandmother, his Nyanya, along with many cousins whose parents had either died or left them. They are extremely poor and there is never enough money or food, but plenty of love. A difficult choice must be made and Muthini is the youngest child and needs to have a better chance in life, so his Nyanya takes him to an orphanage where he is blessed and his name is changed to Baraka which means blessing for he was a blessing just as his grandmother always knew.

Mimi’s Village: And How Basic Health Care Transformed It

In this newest addition to the CitizenKidTM collection of inspiring stories from around the globe, Mimi Malaho and her family help bring basic health care to their community. By making small changes like sleeping under mosquito nets and big ones like building a clinic with outside help, the Malahos and their neighbors transform their Kenyan village from one afraid of illness to a thriving community. “A great resource for introducing children to the issues surrounding global health and empowering them to get involved.” — Ophelia Dahl, Executive Director, Partners In Health

Lila and the Secret of Rain

For months, the sun has baked Lila’s Kenyan village. It’s too hot to gather firewood, too hot to weed the garden, even too hot to milk the cow. Without rain, the crops will fail. Lila is so worried that when her grandfather whispers to her the secret of making the rain fall, she decides to do something about it — even if it means confronting the sky itself. Lila’s quest to save the village is beautifully told in David Conway’s elegant, sparse prose. Jude Daly’s color-drenched illustrations perfectly evoke both the parched landscape and vibrant village life.