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Susan L. Roth: Let’s (Not) Hold Hands (Just for Now)

Intermediate & Middle School Activity

Meet Susan L. Roth author (along with co-author Cindy Trumbore) and illustrator of the 2012 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winning Title for Younger Children, ‘The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families.’  

Susan L. Roth
The Mangrove Tree

Read a summary ‘The Mangrove Tree.’

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families is ecological innovation at its best, all spearheaded by Dr. Gordon Sato, a survivor of the Japanese internment camp Manzanar and a biologist committed to ending hunger throughout the world. In the village of Hargigo in Eritria, local women provide the labor to plant mangrove trees which supplies them with much needed income. The trees turn carbon dioxide to oxygen, attract fish, feed goats and sheep, and therefore children, all made visible in Roth’s brilliant multimedia collage renderings.

Learn More

See some of the pages of ‘The Mango Tree’ at the Lee & Low Books website. Be sure to click on the small images under the book cover for a closer look. Examine Susan’s art closely. How does she create those images?

Mango Tree/Lee & Low Books

View more images here! Hands Around the Library on Susan’s website

There are more images here too! Mango Tree on Susan’ website

Library director, Ismail Serageldin reads ‘Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egpt’s Treasured Books.’

Explore Susan’s website

Cut it out! Be sure to check out how she creates her collages. Yes, you can this too!

Don’t miss this invitation to become an art ambassador of friendship with Susan’s Let’s Hold Hands! project. Holding hands is a symbol of connection and solidarity, but during this pandemic time literally holding hands has to be reserved for those closest to us. Nothing can stop us from holding hands in our hearts though! Click on both links.

1.Let’s Hold Hands!

2.Let’s (Not) Hold Hands (Just for Now)!

Now Let’s Get to Next Steps!

Guiding questions for your reading, writing, thinking and acting:

Look closely at the images in The Mango Tree & Hands Around the Library. What differences do you notice between the two sets? How do they seem similar?

The Mango Tree’s illustrations focus on the landscape and nature while Hands Around the Library’s focus on people. With which book do you feel the strongest connection? Which set of illustrations seems the most beautiful, compelling, or exciting to you? Where would could you imagine yourself? Helping grow trees to feed families or standing together to protect the library?

Write a paragraph or two answering these questions and explaining your choices. Then ask yourself what can you learn about yourself from the answers you have written.

You are welcome to share your writing and/or thoughts in our comment section (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

Will you take the challenge and begin to cut and tear? Reread Susan’s Let’s (Not) Hold Hands (Just for Now)! project directions. Get some paper of various weights and colors. Raid the recycling bin if need be! Get some scissors and some glue or double sided tape. Can you print out her pattern or will you make your own? Will you make yourself with your hands down or up? Have fun creating yourself in paper! Maybe make some family members or friends too, some near at hand or some not so near because of social distancing. Will you send an image of your creation to Susan’s project? Will you display your paper image of yourself holding hands with family and friends or standing side by side with hands in the air?

You are welcome to share your experience and thoughts about this activity in our comment section below (comments will be approved & posted within 24 yours) or on social media #socialjusticelearnanddo

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jane Addams Peace Association