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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy

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14 Cows for America is a beautiful story of people coming together for something good. Kimeli is home visiting his family in a remote village in Kenya. He has been studying in New York City. He tells his family and the people of his village about what happened on September 11th. They are all heartbroken by the story, but want to do something for the people. "To the Maasai, the cow is life." They decide to gift America with cows. They tell the US Embassy in Nairobi about this and they send a diplomat. The diplomat arrives to a ceremony. The Maasi are in full tribal gear and they dance, sing, and make speeches. The most important part of the ceremony is when they present the diplomat with fourteen cows for America. This is a great story of a small tribe providing comfort for a big nation. ( )
  mamontgomery | Feb 2, 2016 |
Good for pairing with books about 9/11. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This beautifully illustrated book and lovely prose helps to bring this touching true story of the Mansai tribe in Kenya to life. Readers are struck by the compassion of these tribal people as they learn of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We find ourselves fervently wishing that all peoples could know and live such a story. Of course, this book would be a wonderful accompaniment to a lesson observing Patriot Day. It would also enhance a unit on different cultures or a unit on character traits. ( )
  cherieem | Jan 24, 2016 |
I like this book because it provides a different perspective from an outside country on an event that happened within the United States. The illustrations are detailed and develop throughout the story. The language the author uses is unique to the story and enhances the cultural aspect.

This story is about the Malasai culture in Kenya and their view on the September 11 events. One of their members named Kimeli was enrolled in medical school in the U.S and came back to tell his tribe about the events he saw. He states that in his culture if there is a very important story it is tradition to tell it under an Acacia tree, which he does to elaborate on September 11. The illustrations are very detailed. As Kimeli is telling the story, his hands are raised to the sky and dark colors are coming from his palm. The dark colors represent the tragic events that Kimeli is explaining to his tribe. The Masali tribe is dressed in “blood-red tunics and spectacular beaded collars” for the offering of the cow’s celebration they have. The Malasai language is embedded in the book as well as different writing techniques. It adds on to the intensity of the story. For example, they use “Supa” instead of saying hello in the beginning of the story and when Kimeli initially arrived to the town he stated that “the children ran to him with the speed and grace of cheetahs”.

The big message in this story is to always stay grounded with your cultural roots. It is something to be proud of and it sets you apart from everyone else. In addition, regardless of where you come from there is always something you can do to help another in need. ( )
  XiomaraGonzalez | Oct 12, 2015 |
This book was a very touching story and I really enjoyed it. One reason I liked this book was because of the illustrations. They were so beautiful and really gave insight about the culture of the Maasai people. The pictures showed the land, their village, and their dress for their ceremony for the Americans. Another reason I really enjoyed this book was Kimeli’s point of view. I had no idea that when he spoke about a September day, that he meant September 11th. He moved people to tears telling the story and since he was from such an isolated and different culture than Americans, it was very touching to see that the Maasai people wanted to help so much. In their cultures, cows are a part of their family, but after hearing the story from America, they were willing to give 14 cows away. That is their livelihood and to see that they wanted to help was moving. I think the big message for this book is to always give what you can. To Americans, fourteen cows may not be sufficient, but to see the meaning of cows to the Maasai people, it shows that the gesture is huge. ( )
  AudreyLast | Feb 18, 2015 |
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Of all the expressions of ­consolation sent to a grieving America after 9/11, perhaps none was as poignant as the gift of 14 cows from Maasai tribesmen in a remote corner of Kenya.
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To all the little children who read this book. You are the peace the world has been waiting for. May you grow to be compassionate diplomats.
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The remote village waits for a story to be told.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Maasai tribal members, after hearing the story of the September 11th attacks from a young Massai, who was in New York on that day, decide to present the American people with fourteen sacred cows as a healing gift.

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