Zonia’s Rainforest is a beautiful book poetically and visually. Zonia lives in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest and is part of the Asháninka which is the biggest Indigenous group there. Every day she looks forward to the rainforest speaking to her and returning its call. She enjoys chatting with the Andean cock-of-the-rocks and playing hide-and-seek with the spectacled caiman. One day Zonia finds a portion of her forest cut down. She runs to inform her mother who tells her the forest is once again speaking to her. Zonia vows to answer. The book leaves us with the promotion that we must all answer the call.
With few words, we are transported to Zonia’s world. We experience her connection to the rainforest and learn how she and the people of Asháninka have an interdependent relationship with it. I love the gorgeous illustrations showing Zonia playing joyfully with her animal neighbors. This story is perfect for young children and shows the importance of the rainforest from the perspective of a child living there. I think Zonia’s mother instructing her to listen to the rainforest and Zonia taking it upon herself to create change is a wonderful way to demonstrate that children can be agents of change. The back includes the story written in the Asháninka language, the history of the Asháninka people, the threats to the Amazon, and the names of the animals in the book.
Author and Illustrator: Juana Martinez-Neal – — Site of the children’s book author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal —
Illustrator: Publisher: Candlewick Press – Welcome
I was kindly given this book for my honest review but all opinions are my own.
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