Friday, November 16, 2012

"14 Cows for America" by Carmen Agra Deedy & illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

Hardcover: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-490-7
14 Cows for America is a book written by Carmen Agra Deedy in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. It was a touching and true story of a compassionate act by a poor Maasai African tribe for the comparatively rich country of America.

Kimeli, who is studying to be a doctor in America, visits his Maasai relatives in a village in Kenya.  He tells them about the terrorists' attack on New York on September 11, which he personally observed. The tribe and elders are saddened and dismayed that anyone would do such a despicable act.  Kimeli as a child was taught to be compassionate and kind to anyone in need and to give others of what he valued most. The cows each family possesses in the Maasai tribe provides milk for them, but Kimeli's mother was too poor to own one when he was a child.  Now as an adult, he is able to have one.  He decides to give his cow to America.  Read the exciting conclusion about the generous sacrifice that the Maasai elders and people made for the hurting people of America.

Since I had lived in Africa for fifteen years as a missionary's child, I had observed the abject poverty of many African families, so the great sacrifice this Maasai tribe made brought tears to my eyes.

I read this book to my fifth grade class.  Several were moved by the story.  Here are their comments-
  • "This book is very touching.  The pictures were almost lifelike.  It was sad and touching.  It teaches a good lesson to always help others in need or suffering."     - Jonathan
  • "The pictures were great.  The person that did it is very talented.  The library...should get it for the early readers section."  - Jessica 
  • "I Iiked their fancy clothes and their hair.  What I really didn't like about it was it said nothing about God."   -John
  • "The pictures were pretty in the background."     -Taylor
  • "I liked how it showed the culture of Kenya and told some of the words they say in their language."     -Brooke
  • "I love the bold pictures and colors."      -Isaac
  • "It shows that he (Kimeli) is kind.  He cares about people.  He respects the elders, and he loves them.  He is really kindhearted, and I think he really was like God."     -Justin
  • "I liked how the pictures looked, and how they loved their cows."     -Micah
  • "This book was interesting, and the pictures were colorful.  It is a good book to read because it feels like you're in the book." - Jannah
  • "It's a kind book.  I love the pictures.  They are real realistic.  I don't like that they (the Maasai) are poor."   - Noah
  • "I like this book because there are warriors that are kind.  I like the background, pictures, and the title."   -Elijah
  • "I like when one of the little African boys held a baby cow.  What I don't like about it was that it brought back the memories of 9/11.   -Mark
  • "The book was very realistic."   -Daniela
  • "Some parts I don't really get- like the cow to them was life and close to their hearts."   -Laura
Most of the class felt it was a great book, but some thought it was more appropriate for younger children.  A couple thought that the book was boring, but the majority felt it was a touching story of compassion and generosity. As a class they gave this book a high recommendation.

(Book review by Sharon Fuqua and the Fifth Grade class at Alamance Christian School)
DISCLOSURE:  A copy of the book was provided by Peachtree Publishers on behalf of the author for the purpose of an honest review. No require was made for a positive review.

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