Some kids are drawn to build, some to dance, some to sing or write or draw or do math or reach for the stars….so many paths and possibilities. And then we come to a child in Cameroon.
Tantoh, a young boy in Cameroon, is drawn to the earth. He is fascinated by how plants grow and how water nourishes life, unless it is tainted. He learns as much as he can about the natural world and proudly pursues his interest in farming, despite his peers’ teasing and his brother’s pressure to seek a higher paying, more prestigious profession.
It turns out that Tantoh’s exposure to contaminated water and a seven-year struggle with typhoid will send him in pursuit of higher goals: helping the people and communities in his country learn how to farm more effectively, provide clean water for their families and farms, and preserve the environment in which they live.
He goes so far as to start a nonprofit to help him reach these goals. And now Miranda and Baptiste Paul have written this book to help spread his message and inspire kids to follow their interests and make a difference in their own communities or to help others around the world. For everyone has the opportunity to help fix a problem, right a wrong, and work with others who seek to do the same.
Without being teachy or preachy, this book will open eyes and hearts and plant seeds for change in those who read it. A terrific book for schools, libraries, and families.
On a side note, the authors deftly include phrases/metaphors/similes that mirror the book’s topic. Tantoh “drinks up facts.” His teacher “pours” information onto the board. And his hand “shoots up like a cornstalk” when he wants to answer a question.
The illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon, in cut paper collage, watercolor, pen drawing, and pasted color pencil, create swirling, earth-toned organic shapes that are well-suited for this topic.
The authors are embarking on a spring book tour with Farmer Tantoh. Check Miranda Paul’s website to see if they’re coming to a school or bookstore near you.
Find all of the words in the text that relate to water, plants, or farming. Are they used as a metaphor or as straight forward descriptions, actions, or things?
Activities on Miranda Paul’s website include an activity worksheet, a video where kids can meet Farmer Tantoh, and information about how kids can find out more about Tantoh’s nonprofit, the Save Our Future Association.
Title: I am Farmer Tantoh: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon
Author: Miranda and Baptiste Paul
Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2019
Themes: Environment, farming, community activism
Ages: Grades 2+
For more perfect picture books, please visit Susanna Hills website.