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I Am Farmer
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About the Author

Miranda Paul is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children, including One Plastic Bag and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honoree Nine Months Before a Baby Is Born. Miranda is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and serves as its mentorship chair. Learn more at mirandapaul.com. Baptiste Paul grew up in St. Lucia, where at age seven he propagated a root cutting that still produces breadfruit for his family. He holds an Environmental Science degree and is the author of The Field, which received multiple starred reviews. His second picture book, Adventures to School, is also co-authored with Miranda Paul. Discover more at baptistepaul.com. Elizabeth Zunon grew up in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, and memories of her childhood can be seen in her artwork. She currently lives in Albany, New York. Find her online at www.lizzunon.com.

Reviews

As a child, Tantoh asked many questions--too many, according to his teacher. He also loved playing in the dirt and planting things. Fortunately, where his teacher discouraged, his grandmother nurtured his curiosity in the natural world. This nature-loving boy would grow up to be Cameroonian environmentalist Farmer Tantoh, who is credited with bringing fresh water, community gardens, and environmental awareness to hundreds of villages. He does all this with the only resources he has: knowledge and people. The book begins and ends with a poetic description of northwest Cameroon and proceeds to capture the delight of a boy inspired to plant onions, fascinated by the textures of the earth, and keenly aware of the interdependence of people and the planet. When a severe episode of typhoid almost ends his life, Tantoh turns his attention to the most basic of necessities: clean water. Zunon's mixed-media illustrations include collage using traditional fabric designs, photographs, and washes of delicate watercolor. This is a beautiful book about an important topic and the man behind a movement.--Booklist

-- "Journal"

As a young child in Cameroon, Tantoh Nforba loved to play in his grandmother's vegetable garden and was eager to learn how soil, water, and weather influenced the production of food. Although his friends teased him about his low aspirations, he was determined to become a farmer. A severe bout with typhoid fever brought on by drinking polluted water made him aware of the lack of available clean water to his countrymen. Nforba's passionate interest in sustainable farming, the environment, and clean water sources has resulted in the education of a growing number of local communities and farmers. He has organized village groups to dig wells, create organic farms, and reduce pollution. Bold full-color collage illustrations bring to life his home in Nkambe and the surrounding countryside, and photographs of Nforba and his family add to the reality of the inspirational story. The authors share African proverbs, both ancient and modern, that have motivated Nforba and his community. VERDICT A valuable work for early lessons on the environment and small-scale community action, and a reminder that one person can bring about change even in difficult circumstances.--School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

Even as a young child Tantoh Nforba loves the rich soils of his native northwestern Cameroon, earning the nickname 'Farmer' from his mocking classmates; family members discourage him from following his passion in favor of aiming for an office job. Owning the nickname proudly--he even writes it on his school uniform--he rejects their judgment and grows up to become not just a farmer but an effective advocate for clean water and safe agricultural practices. He founds a successful nonprofit organization and contributes to the health and well-being of countless communities across Cameroon ('In the twenty years since he first put on the Farmer shirt, Tantoh has installed or consulted on the building of more than sixty wells or spring catchments and inspired the planting of more than eight hundred home, school, or community gardens'). This heartening story--accompanied in front and back matter by the authors' photographs, maps, and additional commentary about their time with Nforba and his family--conveys the importance of sound agricultural practices across farms, schoolyards, communities, and nations. In Zunon's colorful mixed-media illustrations, the vibrancy of people, water, and especially the contrasting soils of the wet and dry seasons showcase the movement that Farmer Tantoh has built. The back matter also includes a brief glossary/pronunciation guide of Limbum (one of the languages of Cameroon) words.--The Horn Book Magazine

-- "Journal"

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