Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai

From the Series STEM Trailblazer Bios

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 - Grade 5
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Have you ever tried to come up with ways to solve a problem in your community? Wangari Maathai worked to solve an environmental crisis and help people at the same time.

When Maathai was young, it was unusual for girls in Kenya to go to school, but she was determined to learn more about science and nature. As an adult, she noticed that people were cutting down too many trees. Maathai knew that forest loss was bad for the health of the environment and people. She started the Green Belt Movement, which educated women in rural villages and paid them for every tree they planted. The program helped plant millions of trees and brought money to the villages. For her environmental and human rights work, Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Format Your Price Add
Available at all major wholesalers and distributors. Save 25% off list price on hardcovers and ebooks when you buy direct! Digital purchases will be accessed on Lerner Digital Bookshelf. An account will be created for you after purchase.
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre Science
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, STEM, STEM: Interdisciplinary
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Lerner Publications ™, LernerClassroom
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2018-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 5.7
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF007090, JNF007120, JNF037020
Dewey 333.72096762
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 880
Guided Reading Level U
ATOS Reading Level 5.3
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 195400
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Glossary words bolded within text, Index, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, Timeline, and eSource

Author: Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson is the author of 45+ nonfiction books for kids. Her passion for science and technology resonates in all her books and her work has won multiple awards including a Green Earth Book Honor Award, three Florida Book Awards, California Reading Association awards, a Parent's Choice Gold award, and a 2021 Kirkus Best Books Award. Jennifer is an accomplished speaker at events and schools around the country, the Highlights Foundation, the National NSTA conferences, the World Science Festival in NYC, and the Library of Congress' National Book Festival. She lives in Jacksonville with her husband and two dogs.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

STEM Trailblazer Bios

Read about the life stories and significant contributions of some of today’s most accomplished figures in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Narrative nonfiction text explores key details from each person’s life, often… View available downloads →



Prepare for ramped-up STEM engagement with the latest installment in the STEM Trailblazer Bios series. In four to five brisk, photo-filled chapters, entries showcase each innovator’s early life, education, career, and groundbreaking achievements. Code-Breaker and Mathematician Alan Turing introduces the brilliant creator of the code-cracking Bombe machine. It’s estimated that Turing’s Bombe shaved at at least two years of WWII, saving approximately two million lives. Schwartz also addresses homophobia, the British government’s 1952 condemnation of Turing, and his posthumous pardon decades later. In Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai, readers learn of the convention-shattering leader. Born in Kenya in 1940, Maathai valiantly combated countrywide deforestation through the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots tree-planting imitative. In 2004, Maathai became the first-ever African to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Google Cybersecurity Expert Parisa Tabriz spotlights the self-proclaimed “Security Princess,” tracing her career from college computer-security club meetings to a post as Google’s fiercest white hat. Science Educator and Advocate Bill Nye turns the lens on the beloved “science guy,” an engineer who’s developed suppressor tubes for Boeing, an Emmy award-winning PBS program, and two Mars-based sun dials. With boldface vocabulary words and boxed quotations throughout—as well as appended time lines, source notes, and further resources—these nimble bios are just the thing for mover and shakers in the making.