BOOKS: Kids & Animals: Drawings From the Hands and Hearts of Children & Youth

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2011:

Kids & Animals:
Drawings From the Hands and Hearts of Children & Youth
by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.
70 pages, free to download from:

Animal behavior researcher Marc Bekoff
was inspired to assemble Kids & Animals by Ellen
Mackey, a third grade teacher at Foothill
Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado. Mackey
had organized a Roots & Shoots group among her
class. Roots & Shoots is an international

educational project founded by primatologist Jane
Goodall in 1991, along with a group of Tanzanian
children. Now operating in more than 120
nations, Roots & Shoots identifies local animal
and environmental issues, and encourages
children to take action in response to them.
Kids & Animals is a collection of drawings about
animals from Roots & Shoots participants around
the world. The messages are simple but powerful,
illustrating children’s creativity, fears,
disappointments and hopes about the animal world
around them.
Six short chapters each focus on a
specific subject, including safety, peace,
love and families, homes and habitats,
co-existence and cooperation, and lastly
Darwin in chapter one dreams that “all
the animals are safe from people.” Makena dreams
that her departed dog is “safe in heaven.” Drew
wants bugs to be safe. Other children offer
thoughts ranging from thankfulness for bees
“├Čbecause they give us honey” to dreaming “that
cats will be happy.”
Each chapter ends with suggestions for
activities that children can do, such as
gathering food for dogs and cats as part of food
drives for the needy. Each chapter also profiles
children who have made a difference, such as a
teen group in Barcelona who cleaned up litter in
a forest, and children in the Congo who helped
orphaned primates at a sanctuary.
Kids & Animals is an outstanding example
of children tackling animal suffering, habitat
loss, and environmental destruction. It should
be mandatory reading for government leaders
around the world. –Debra J. White

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