Apr 3, 2011

Jane Goodall's Birthday Today!

     One day in my elementary school we learned about Dr. Jane Goodall and her great environmental efforts as well as her work with primates. I had seen the movie, Gorillas in the Mist, prior to this school day and got the main character confused with Jane Goodall (it was actually about Dian Fossey. She was great too, but today is not her birthday and I don't think she wrote any books for children). I wrote a letter to Dr. Goodall telling her that I liked the movie and that I thought she was wonderful. She very kindly replied, not saying anything about my mix-up (I have the letter packed away somewhere. I wish I could remember exactly what it said; short and sweet). She is famous and her reply made me feel special. In 1991, Jane Goodall started the youth environmental organization, Roots & Shoots to promote the care of our communities, animals, and the environment. Twenty years later it is still going strong.
     Along with Dr. Goodall's efforts to teach youth about environmentalism and get them involved in the work, she has also written several books for children including Dr. White, The Eagle and the Wren, and Ricki and Henri. There have also been a few children's books written about her, two being The Watcher and Me...Jane which both came out this year. As I was in the children's book section of the BYU bookstore recently I saw a copy of Me...Jane, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. I fell in love with it. It is geared towards very young children, the story beginning with tiny Jane and her trusty plush chimpanzee sharing every experience, everyday, including dreaming about the future. By the end of the book that future has become a reality. The illustrations are very simple and easy to look at. There is even a two-page spread of sketches from young Jane Goodall's nature notebook. Me...Jane is a beautiful little book that I recommend all of you find and read (that is why I wanted to make this post in the first place; to share with you!).

"The life of each one of us matters in the scheme of things, and I encourage everyone, especially young people, to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment."
-Jane Goodall, Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Please check out the Jane Goodall Institute website for more information.

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