Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2019
“It doesn’t matter where you come from- you are never too small or insignificant to contribute to the long-term sustainability of our planet. By doing things to the best of your ability, you are improving our world.” -Farmer Tantoh
This quote is one of many memorable moments and inspirational reminders I came across while reading I AM FARMER: GROWING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IN CAMEROON by Baptiste & Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Saying this book is “amazing” doesn’t do it justice, nor does “outstanding” or “excellent.” Perhaps, when I put them together and add “inspiring” and “superb” to the mix, you will have a better understanding of where I’m headed. Either way, however you choose to look at it, this book is a must-read! From the Americas to Australia, and everywhere in between, I AM FARMER is a book for us all, ages 0 to 100. Hopefully, you will also be inspired to step forward and help make our world a safer, happier, healthier place to live.
I AM FARMER tells the story of a wonderful man named Farmer Tantoh. In reading, you will learn how he went from being laughed at by his peers as a kid, to a heroic, environmental leader as a teen and adult. His story not only inspires and motivates, but it also fills my entire being with joy and emotion. By believing in himself, staying true to his passion, and never giving up, Farmer Tantoh was able to begin his life-long journey of transforming communities, helping others, and saving lives. His quest for knowledge is admirable, as are his self-less actions. He helped me see that no matter where we live or how old we are, we all have something to contribute, and whether our contributions are big or small, it doesn’t matter because when everyone works together, our contributions combine to produce big results.
The writing of Baptiste & Miranda Paul is flawless, and the strategically placed photographs throughout the book add so much authenticity to the text! Written in English with the intention to inform, I AM FARMER is told like an engaging story. Children will be filled with wonder while soaking up the ever-so-valuable information, and adults will be inspired to find out more about Cameroon, Farmer Tantoh, and his environmental efforts. Households, neighborhoods, and classrooms all over the world will be excited to come together and brainstorm ideas for how they, too, can get involved and become leaders in their communities. Lucky for us, we don’t have to look far because Baptiste & Miranda Paul have kindly and generously offered to compile pages of activities, discussion guides, and other helpful resources through their websites, newsletters, and various places online. As a teacher, this is a dream come true! Thank you so much!
The full-page illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon are beautiful, colorful, and informative, in the sense that they are explanations within themselves. Even the youngest of children will be able to understand the importance of community, helping others, and overall health and safety. They add so much to the text and were every bit as interesting as the book, itself. I have looked at them numerous times, and I notice with every new turn of the page, I find something I didn’t see before. No space is wasted. She did a wonderful job!
Without hesitation, I give a very deserving 5 out of 5 stars to I AM FARMER: GROWING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IN CAMEROON by Baptiste & Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. My favorite parts of the book were the real photographs because they taught me so much about the area and the people who live there, as well as the inclusion of the Authors’ Note and the glossary, pronunciation guide, and map at the end. As I stated before, I am a teacher (high school, Spanish and English); it is so important to teach and introduce kids to places, cultures, and ways of life other than our own. Doing so helps them develop a realer sense of the world, a deeper understanding and appreciation for others, and love and respect for those around them. I plan to use I AM FARMER in class to introduce my students to our Passion Projects unit in April, which some teachers may refer to as Genius Hour or 20-Time. I know my students will be inspired by Farmer Tantoh’s story. My hope is that his drive and determination will spark something inside each of them, which some may not even know yet exists. I want my students to also be reminded to never give up on their dreams and to always believe in themselves! I highly recommend this book to teachers, parents, kids, and adults of all ages, all over the world. I feel lucky to have found this book and to own a copy! I will display it with pride and share the message with as many as I can. It has inspired me to do more, and I know you will feel the same. The world is ready, and we can’t wait to see what your future holds!
**I have to say thank you to all of those involved in making Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 a success! I greatly appreciate your time and hard work more than you know! I was introduced to I AM FARMER, as well as many others that I otherwise may not have ever known about. I cannot wait for next year. Happy reading, everyone!
Thank you for reading my review. I hope it was helpful. 😊