14 Cows For America (Carmen Agra Deedy)

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Summer Reading Day 55: Our pick today was 14 Cows For America by Carmen Agra Deedy. It’s a deeply moving true story, told in picture book form, of a young Maasai man who was studying in America during September 11th. When he returns to visit his people the following spring, he tells them of what he witnessed, moving them to want to help heal the heart of America. So they decide to give 14 cows, each symbols of life and peace, to the nation of the United States of America as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity.

This is possibly one of my favorite children’s books ever written. The story is incredibly touching and has a beautiful message: no sincere gesture is ever too small. The artwork is absolutely BREATHTAKING, realistic and dreamlike at once, and even though it’s a slightly long story for most one year olds, she was so enraptured of the art that I was able to get away with it. The events of September 11th are dealt with well, the descriptions and art are subtle enough to convey the tragedy without being scary for young readers. And I dare you to read this to your little ones without choking up and/or finding a tear in your eye. It’s a book that will move you. Thumbs up.

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