Jane Goodall was born in London in 1934. And, as the 2016 book I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer charmingly demonstrates, she had an early love for animals. She left school at the age of 18 and began observing chimpanzees in Gombe before obtaining any formal scientific training. Yet the work she did there is considered to be amongst “the greatest achievements of twentieth-century scholarship.” Today she is an international advocate for conservation and a UN Messenger of Peace.

When you’re finished reading I am Jane Goodall, ask kids these comprehension questions:

  • How did Jane Goodall become a ground-breaking researcher in Gambia? What other jobs did she have first?
  • What were some of Goodall’s amazing discoveries about chimpanzees?

Interested kids can also join Roots & Shoots, Jane Goodall’s network for young people seeking to affect positive change in their communities; find out more at www.rootsandshoots.org!

For our Rosie Reads activity, we’re talking about passion, careers, and perseverance! Jane Goodall’s love for animals began when she was a child; ask kids what they are passionate about right now, and if that has changed over the years. It’s fun if they know about things they loved as toddlers – have kids prepare for the conversation in advance by taking a questionnaire home. Or, if you’re doing it with your own kids, remind them! Take some time online and research how these passions might lead to future jobs and careers like they did for Goodall.

Be sure to go back to the book too and reconsider Jane’s path to becoming a primatologist. It took time, persistence, and several other jobs to get there. Emphasize this, and ask kids to imagine the paths they could take to get to the careers you discussed. What challenges and pitfalls might they face along the way?