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14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy

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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 |
In mmy opinion, I did not like this book. I thought this story was confusing because I did not understand that Kimeli's story was based off of the attacks from September 11th until I read the background description of the story after I had finished reading. I also did not understand the idea of the cow being sacred because it was not explained in the story. The book just stated that the people from Kenya wanted to give America 14 cows to show their support. After clearing up my confusion, I understood that the main idea was to be a leader and not follow those around you if you don't believe in what they are doing. For example, Kimeli's country were a part of the group who harmed New York and the rest of America. Kimeli stood up as a leader against many of his people, and gave back to the Americans with the cows. ( )
  NicoleGinex | Feb 15, 2015 |
I liked this book for a few reasons. One of the reasons is because it was written in an interesting way. When the story began, the way it was written was almost as if the character Kimeli was holding back on saying something important and big from his family and friends. Kimeli was studying to be a doctor, and went to New York in the USA to go to school. When he returns back to his village of the Maasai people, he explains what his trip was like, and the attack of 9ll. The Maasai people decide they want to help America and are going to send them 14 cows. Another reason why I liked this book was because of the illustrations, they were amazing. For example, when Kimeli is telling his people about the attacks of 911, there is a picture of him, and in his eyes are the burning Twin Tower buildings. I thought this was a powerful illustration. I also liked this book because it was reassuring for the readers that not everyone that didn’t live in America wanted to hurt them. The Maasai people wanted to help them, and cared about the Americans that were in need, which was one of the big ideas of this story. It gave a different perspective of how other people other than Americans reacted to the 911 attacks. ( )
  KellieMcFadzen | Feb 14, 2015 |
I liked this book for several reasons. I liked how the story incorporates two cultures, the culture of the people in Kenya and the culture of America. This shows reader that everyone has a different background, but we are all people. The illustrations are realistic and includes many blends of colors. There are many phrases in the story that portray imagery and alliteration. For example, “His jeep jounces along the dusty, rugged roads.” and “…Brilliant blood-red tunics and spectacular beaded collars,…” Both of these quotes use vivid verbs and strong adjectives to describe different objects. There is also a use of alliteration, “Jeep jounces” and “rugged roads” and “Brilliant blood…beaded” The alliteration emphasizes the actions or descriptions that are happening in the sentence. Also, instead of describing the tunics as “red”, the author decided to add “brilliant blood” which allows the reader to imagine a specific shade of red. I also enjoyed that the author included the language of the Maasai people. For example, “Supa” and “Aakua” This helps the reader get an idea of the words that the Maasai people use and also shows the reader that there are other languages besides English.The big idea of this story is even with differences, everyone should be kind to each other, especially in times of tragedy. ( )
  ktran4 | Feb 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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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