Friday, June 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 62

Dynamic Duo: Book 1
Picture Book: 14 Cows for America

Author: Carmen Agra Deedy

Illustrator: Thomas Gonzalez

Collaborator: Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah

Summary: Months after the World Trade Towers were destroyed, a Kenyan student, who was in New York City on that day, returned to his beloved Maasai tribe and shared the story. Greatly affected by the terrible events, Kimeli asked the elders to ceremoniously bless the giving of his only cow, a valuable gift. For the Maasai, the cow is life. This ritual is seen as a way of taking on some of America’s pain. Moved by the story, the elders agreed. When an American diplomat came to the blessing ceremony, his country was given not 1 but 14 cows. This true story of international compassion and generosity has been shared around the globe and continues to inspire. 

Hanna’s Comments: Although this story is about Kenyan Maasai and the USA, it is a story that can bless those in any community in which international connections are valued and compassion ignores borders. Be sure to read Kimeli’s Afterward. This book is the first in a PBT Dynamic Duo. Tomorrow’s PBT offering is another picture book involving an African tribe’s desire to give to a suffering New York City during The Great Depression of the 1930s.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Peachtree Publishers, 2009

Age and Grade Appropriateness:  7 and up, 2nd and up                                          
# of Pages: 36                                                                                        
Available in Spanish? Yes                                                                            
Formats other than Book: An amateur video is on, more information may be found at, including a Teacher’s Guide and news of the flag commemorating this gift which is to be at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.                          

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K, Award Winner (Caldecott Honor)

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, Africa, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, America, animals, anxiety/worry, body of Christ, bonds/connections/connectedness, brokenness, choices/decisions, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, golden rule/great commandment, helping, intercession, kindness, outreach, poverty, power, response to God, righteousness, sacrifice, sharing

Scripture Connections: Giving to the poor (Proverbs 19:17, 25:21, 28:27), To the least of these (Matthew 25), the Gentile churches give to the suffering in the Jerusalem church (Romans 15: 22-29, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8: 1-15)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book as part of a sermon or lesson about giving across international borders when a community is suffering.

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