Book Reviews

Special A.C.E. Stories

Online Paper (PDF)

Bids & Public Notices

NW Job Market


Special Sections


The Asian Reporter 19th Annual Scholarship & Awards Banquet -
Thursday, April 20, 2017 

Asian Reporter Info

About Us

Advertising Info.

Contact Us
Subscription Info. & Back Issues



Currency Exchange

Time Zones
More Asian Links

Copyright © 1990 - 2016
AR Home


The Asian Reporter's

From The Asian Reporter, V21, #09 (May 2, 2011), page 16 & 21.

Planting trees, feeding families

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families

By Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore

Illustrations by Susan L. Roth

Lee & Low Books, 2011

Hardcover, 40 pages, $19.95

By Julie Stegeman

The Asian Reporter

It would be difficult not to become bitter after being locked up because you were of the "wrong" ethnicity at the wrong time. Gordon H. Sato, a Japanese-American teenager, and his family were imprisoned in the Manzanar War Relocation Center in California during World War II. Sato emerged from the experience with the knowledge of how to grow corn in dry and hostile conditions as well as a desire to help his fellow man.

Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore tell Sato’s story in their new children’s book, The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families.

Sato, armed with a doctorate degree in cell biology earned in the years after his internment, discovered a unique way of empowering people to feed themselves.

The cell biologist observed that mangrove trees could live in seawater near freshwater streams. He also found that camels could thrive on mangrove leaves and deduced that goats and sheep — which could sustain a population of people — could do the same.

Using experiments, Sato determined that adding nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron to seawater would allow mangroves to grow. Armed with the new knowledge, he brought the concept to a village in the country of Eritrea, where hunger is widespread.

The Mangrove Tree is organized into two parts. The first details Sato’s work in Eritrea, called the Manzanar Project, using alternating poetry and prose:

Then a scientist had an idea:

to plant mangrove trees

by the shore of the salty Red Sea

so the animals could eat

the fat green leaves of the trees.

An Eritrean village named Hargigo was the first to be transformed from one of constant hunger into a self-sufficient community, all "by planting trees, mangrove trees, by the sea," with the whole village participating in growing the trees and tending the goats and sheep that feed on them.

Accompanying the first part of the book are remarkable mixed-media collage illustrations by Susan L. Roth depicting villagers, mangrove trees, and more in interesting textures and colors.

The second part of the book offers a biography of Sato, accompanied by photographs of the scientist, the people he has helped, and his Manzanar Project — so named "to remind people that it is possible to fight injustice with hope." There are also details of Sato’s continuation of the Manzanar Project in two other African countries, Mauritania and Morocco.

The final pages of The Mangrove Tree include a glossary, pronunciation guide, and websites of interest as well as a list of sources. Sato "believes that large-scale planting of (mangrove) forests would have an enormous positive economic impact on world poverty and hunger." The Mangrove Tree provides a fun, interesting, and inspiring glimpse of the amazing positive change a person can make by overcoming adversity and thinking creatively.

To learn more about the Manzanar Project, visit <>.




To buy me, visit these retailers:

Powell's Books