Sunday, March 13, 2011

Can a Children's Book Help End Hunger?

(Editor's note: Bread for the World members Hank Bruce & Tomi Jill Folk from Rio Rancho, N.M., announced that their latest book,  the Miracle of the Morninga Tree, is now available from Petals & Pages Press. This is a children's (and adult's) book written to help create an awareness of this valuable tree as a source of nutrition and a means to help provide safe drinking water).

Can a children’s book help end hunger?  That’s what this colorful, beautifully illustrated new book about a special tree was created to do.

Did you ever eat tree leaves?  The leaves of the moringa tree are incredibly nutritious.

Have you heard about seeds that make dirty water safe to drink?  The seeds of the moringa tree can do just that.

Do you think children can be great heroes?  In this story two children, with the help of an incredible tree, save the lives of everyone in their drought-stricken village in Kenya.

In The Miracle of the Moringa Tree you are invited to:
  • Walk with two young children as they set out on a journey to save their village from starvation.
  • Sit under the talking moringa tree with them and learn all about what makes it so valuable.
  • Help them carry moringa leaves and seeds back to the village and join in the dance that follows.
The Miracle of the Moringa Tree is about two young hunger heroes.  Amali and her brother Njema live in a drought stricken Kenyan village.  An elder tells the people not to give up hope and points toward the distant hills.  That night the two children set off to find the food Mzee speaks of.

The next day they discover a moringa tree.  The tree teaches them how to cook and eat the leaves, pods and seeds.  It also teaches them how to purify the dirty water with these seeds.

They take bags and baskets of these leaves, pods and seeds back to the village and show everyone how to prepare this new food, then how to plant the seeds so that they could grow moringa so that no one in the village will ever feel the pain of hunger again.  They are called hunger heroes, and children around the world are invited to become hunger heroes, too.
 How to Order: The book is currently available at Treasure House Books in Old Town (Albuquerque),, and Tomi's bookstore Petals & Pages Press on facebook, or inquiries can be directed to us at or   Books will also be available on  Petals and Pages Press  by the end of March. 
The book is currently being translated into Spanish and translation will soon begin into French and Portugese.

"Our hope is to have young hunger heroes planting moringa trees all over the world," said Tomi Jill Folk.  "What a beautiful image that brings to mind.  We just recieved word that Trees for Life has funded the creation of a 500 tree (seedling) community project in Kenya."

Petals & Pages Press will be sponsoring the planting of a moringa tree in Kenya for each copy of this book sold in 2011.  And they encourage readers to do the same by sponsoring a tree through Plant It 2020, an organization founded by singer, songwriter, humanitarian and environmental advocate John Denver in 1976.  Thank you for being a part of the solution, and for being a hunger hero.

According to Bread for the World 1.2 billion people on this planet are malnourished, and this number has increased in the past 5 years.  That’s 15% of the world’s population, and many of these are children.  In fact, every day 16,000 children die from hunger related causes.  But this doesn’t have to be.

Moringa leaves ounce for ounce provide:
7 times the vitamin C as in oranges,
4 times the calcium, 2 times the protein as in milk,
4 times the vitamin A as in carrots,
3 times the potassium as in bananas, and
3 times the iron as in spinach.

A billion people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are estimated to rely on untreated surface water for their daily needs. Of these, two million are thought to die from diseases from contaminated water every year, with the majority of these deaths occurring among children under five years of age.
 But, this doesn’t have to be.  Moringa is an economical, sustainable, environmentally friendly solution.

Miracle of the Moringa Tree was written as a tool to help create awareness of the value of the moringa tree.  One of the intriguing facts about this tree is that if you take a world map with the regions where hunger and malnutrition are the most prevalent, and a map where moringa will grow best, the two maps are almost identical.  This tree can be one of the key solutions to global hunger.

This book can be used in schools, libraries and clinics around the world, and the children will take the story home to their families This is referred to as the “dinner table classroom.”  School children  can start moringa trees at school, and health care professionals can encourage its planting in family gardens.  Charts on how to use the seeds to purify water and the nutritional value of the leaves are a part of the resources section at the end of the book.  There’s also a list of books and websites that can provide more information, as well as a guide to starting your own moringa trees from seed.

About the Authors  
Hank and Tomi are founders of Hunger Grow Away, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving nutrition globally by supporting the use of accessible family, neighborhood, and  community  gardens for food security.  Together they have over 20 books in print, including three award winners. 

Hank Bruce grew up gardening in Pennsylvania, and is former president of the FL chapter of the American Horticultural Therapy Association. He was awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.  He was named Humanitarian of the  Year by the American Horticultural Therapy Association in 2001.  Hank was educated at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and he and wife Tomi now call that area home.

Tomi Jill Folk’s early gardening was done in North Dakota, and she is a Concordia College, Moorhead, MN graduate. She also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, and served as an ordained pastor.  Tomi is now a poet, author, photographer, editor, storyteller and public speaker.

Illustrator: Miho Komatsu
Illustrating a children’s book has been a dream of Miho’s from the time that she was six years old, growing up in Tokyo, Japan. A graduate of Kanto International High School in Japan, and Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. USA, Miho is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  A gifted pianist, this first book demonstrates that she is also a gifted artist with a great future ahead.

No comments: