Zonia’s Rain ­Forest

Candlewick. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536208450; Spanish ed. ISBN 9781536213362.
PreS-Gr 3–Zonia, a young Asháninka girl living in the Amazon rainforest begins her days with a walk through the lush forest and greeting all her animal friends. Martinez-Neal describes Zonia’s carefree life among the unique species that surround her and call to her in sparse words, and soothing shades of green and earth tones that are full of texture. In her bright yellow dress, with sparkling eyes, terra cotta–colored skin and long, straight black hair, Zonia is vibrant and her curiosity is infectious. On her way home, the young Indigenous girl stumbles upon a patch that has been a victim of deforestation. Frightened, she decides she must answer the call to protect her home. The book includes back matter that will appeal to older readers and is well suited for classroom use on the Asháninka people, facts about and threats to the Amazon rainforest, as well as information about the animals Zonia encounters.
VERDICT This beautiful look at a young girl’s life and her determination to save her home is a perfect read for young environmentalists.

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