by Carmen Agra Deedy • Illustrated by Illustrator Thomas Gonzalez · In collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
August 2009 • Peachtree Publishers • Picture Book • Ages 6-10
The big gift of compassion one small Kenyan village made to the American people
14 Cows for America is a true account of hope and compassion in the presence of tragedy. It tells the story of a young Maasai warrior named Kimeli who was a student at Stanford University in California and visiting the United Nations on September 11, 2001. Deeply saddened by the events of that day, he carried the story to his village in Kenya the next spring. The villagers decided to donate their most precious possession as a gift of healing to the United States. Author Carmen Deedy -- winner of the Pura Belpre Medal award (for Martina the Beautiful Cockroach) -- collaborated with Kimeli to tell this story from his perspective.
Story behind the story: Carmen was stirred to write this story after reading a newspaper account of the ceremony that took place in June 2002 when the Maasai tribe presented fourteen cows to the American ambassador. She worked on the story for several years thereafter, and finally completed it in 2007.
Carmen then sought out the principal character of the story—Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah—to ask for his blessing before proceeding. Kimeli gave his blessing and accepted the offer to join the project as a collaborator working closely with us in the development of the picture book. He made many important contributions to the work, especially to its authenticity.
Book trailer available here: http://www.14cowsforamerica.com/FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.
Note: for some reason, beyond my technological know-how, the cover of 14 Cows is reproducing with a blue cast, instead of the glorious orange sun-reflecting sky. My apologies! Please see Peachtree Publishers or the 14 Cow for America website to see the true cover.