14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah. Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez.

LOOK INSIDE the book

Introduce the book by holding up a copy of 14 Cows for America.
Ask students what they think this book might be about.
Show the "9/11 Timeline" video from the History Channel.
"9/11 Timeline" shows the events as they begin to unfold through actual video footage. (For older students you can also point out that audio, video, and statements made by eye witnesses are examples of primary sources).

9/11 Timeline-a timeline of the events unfolding on September 11, 2001

Depending on students' ages, ask what they remember about September 11th, 2001. Where were they? What was happening around them?
How were grown ups reacting to what was happening?
Reflect and share with students where you were, what you were doing, and how you felt as the tragedy unfolded.
warning: some images may be disturbing for students. Use your own judgment to decide what is appropriate for your students.

Read aloud the book, 14 Cows for America.

Read this statement and ask students what they think the author meant.

There is no nation so powerful it cannot be wounded, nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.

Can this statement apply to children too? If so, how?

EXPLORE the story behind the story:
Learning about the Maasai
Display the map that shows where the Maasai live. Show some photo examples of the Maasai way of life and types of clothing.


Have students compare and contrast the differences between their way of life and the Maasai way of life.

Young Maasai herder/ image source: Korrigan

In Kenya, the Maasi were once feared warriors, but now they are peaceful nomadic cattle herders. To the Maasi, the cow is life. Without the cows, the Maasi tribe might starve. They treat the cows as kindly as they do their own family members. They give each one a name, sing to them, and even give shelter to the young calves in their own homes. They are more than mere pets, they are part of the family.

image source: Maasai Association

One warrior, Kimeli has been living in America for a long time going to school to study to become a doctor. While Kimeli is in America something very terrible happens. Kimeli has come home to share this sad tale with his tribe and to ask a favor.

>>This very touching story reflects the true events that took place on September 11, 2001.
Kimeli grew up in a small village in Kenya and earned a college scholarship in America. In New York, he lived with American families while studying to become a doctor. During this time, foreign terrorists attacked America. Kimeli witnessed the bombings of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. His heart was heavy with grief and he wanted to do something to help. He remembered once hearing "to heal a sorrowing heart, give something that is dear to your own." He decided to give his only cow as an offering to grieving Americans. When he took his story to the elders of his village, they too wanted to help. This is how fourteen cows were symbolically given to America. A symbol of friendship and hope. The cattle herd still lives in Kenya and have now multiplied, but they will never be slaughtered for food.

image source: Maasai Association
**The Maasai Association**. Learn more about Maasai way of life-schools, clinics, ritual ceremonies, view photos and slide shows, and learn about donating a goat or cow to a Maasai family.

African people and Culture-the Maasai
View the following video clips

Kimeli Naiyomah tells reporters about his book.

(site blocked by some school districts-Youtube)

Visit author's web site: Carmen Agra Deedy

Author Carmen Agra Deedy explains why she was moved to write this beautiful story of compassion and generosity.

(site blocked by some school districts-Youtube)

bluebonnet_clipart.gifTexas Bluebonnet Book Literature Activities:

September 11th and Patriot Day Learning Connections and Activities:


CNN September 11 Memorial

September 11 Chronology of terror A time line of the events of the day as they unfolded.

View a Memorial listing of Victims of September 11-use for a research project.

Remembering the Heroes of Sept. 11-first person perspectives from the people who lived the tragedy.

**Fema for Kid** Herman, the spokes-crab for FEMA teaches kids how to be prepared for disasters and prevent disaster damage. Llearn what causes disasters, play games, read stories and become a Disaster Action Kid.
(FEMA=Federal Emergency Management Agency)

CREATE: September 11th Collage (Patriot Day Collage)
Students will create an 8.5” by 11” collage of images that illustrate their own idea of American patriotism including images that commemorate the September 11 events. Students may add in their own captions and creative art to complete their vision of patriotism. Scan images into an electronic format and present as a class slide show.

Hero Activities:
Three activities to enable students to identify the characteristics of a hero and complete a project that reflects the person.
Create a stamp, poster, or Tee shirt commemorating a hero. Activities to Honor Heroes

Invite a Guest Speaker: Invite a police officer, fire fighter, or veteran to be a guest speaker on Patriot Day. Ask guests to share what their experience on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was like, and how they were feeling as they witnessed the events of the day.


Write: Students will use flag template to write a few sentences about how they feel about America, being an American or a patriot. Next, they may lightly color flags and then string them up around the classroom.

Learn to fold the United States Flag

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Chris Perkins

U. S. Flag folding website dedicated to the flag of the United States-historical images of our flag and additional information
that is very useful.
Step by step tutorial of USA flag foldilng
Diagram of how to fold the USA flag-Betsy Ross website with information on the United States flag.

bluebonnet_clipart.gifTexas Bluebonnet Book Literature Connections:
This book pairs up nicely with Home of the Brave. jpeg_book_cover_Home_of_Brave.jpg