Written by Carmen Agra Deedy, in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, and beautifully illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, 14 Cows for America is a picture book that prompts reflection, sensitivity to others, and appreciation for each individual’s place in our interconnected world. View the book trailer here.
14 Cows for America is the true story of Maasai tribesman and Stanford University student Kimeli Naiyomah who witnessed the events on September 11, 2001, while visiting the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Returning to his home in a remote village in Western Kenya, he brought the story of those events to his Maasai villagers. He felt compelled to give of something dearest to his heart, one of his cows. Carmen Agra Deedy does an excellent job conveying the importance of cows to the Maasai people so we understand the significance of this gesture. When the US Ambassador answers a call for a visit, he witnesses a blessing ceremony by hundreds of Maasai who ultimately give to America their tribute of life – 14 cows.
During ALA Midwinter I wandered by the Peachtree Publishers booth to sniff out what’s new. I was delighted to see loose pages for Carmen Agra Deedy’s newest book 14 Cows for America. In May I received a galley copy and yet I couldn’t wait to possess the final hardcover picture book.
Finally it arrived in late June. I don’t know why it has taken me so many months to write about this book because it has greatly impacted every person I have shared it with all along its development. Everyone who has read this book has demanded more information. They’ve read all the publisher information, reviews, internet stories, and personal accounts. I have witnessed people praying and simply pausing to think about their role in the world after reading this book. Carmen Agree Deedy has written many funny stories, but 14 Cows for America is a heartwarming tale to cherish.