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This book is based on the biography of famed researcher Jane Goodall, who lived with the chimpanzees and became such a dedicated spokesperson for this species. The book begins with a young Jane spending hours watching chickens, worms, birds and other creatures in her world. As she grows older, Jane dreams of going to Africa. She is soon able to realize her dreams with a trip to Kenya where she meets up with noted researcher Louis Leakey, who offers her the opportunity to study chimpanzees. Through Jane's incredible patience and tenacity she is allowed into the world of the chimps and makes incredible discoveries about their natural history. Eventually Jane has to leave the Gombe Nature Reserve and soon after her departure terrible things happen to the chimps. This is when Jane becomes certain about what she must do with her life. She becomes the voice of the chimpanzees and since that time has travelled the world advocating for the protection of this amazing species.
This book helps students understand how animals can become endangered through human actions. Students could compare what happens to the chimpanzees in the story to other endangered species to see which similar factors affect the animals. The story also encourages an interest in science. Younger students could go outside to observe nature and then write about their experiences. An interesting project for older students would be to learn more about the life of scientific pioneers such as Jane Goodall. Children could also do more research about the chimpanzees of the Gombe Nature Reserve to find out how science has helped protect this species.
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