Forest Fighter: The Story of Chico Mendes by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Margaux Carpentier

Published by Crocodile Books

Summary: Born into a family of Brazilian rubber tappers, Chico Mendes loved the Amazon rainforest where he grew up.  He was fortunate to receive some education, and when the government shifted its economic priorities from rubber production to agriculture, Chico became one of the leaders in the movement to stop the burning of the rainforest.  He and other rubber tappers organized protests and gained some victories in their movement to slow the forest’s destruction.  His outspokenness antagonized the wealthy ranchers, and he began receiving death threats.  On December 22, 1988, he was assassinated outside his home.  His legacy continues with the worldwide attention he brought to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.  Includes facts about the rainforest, a glossary, and an index.  48 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  This biography of Chico Mendes does an excellent job of putting his work and life in the context of this history of the region.  The brilliant colors of the illustrations are a perfect way to portray the Amazon rainforest.

Cons:  The cover and format of this book led me to believe it would be a picture book, but it’s a longer nonfiction book with a fair amount of text.

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