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Learn about Jane Goodall through Books and Movement

For Women’s History Month this year, we are celebrating the life and work of Jane Goodall. Her love and passion for animals and nature inspired her to dedicate her entire life to building awareness for chimpanzees living in Africa and ways we can make a difference to our environment.

Just like Jane, my daughter loves animals. So I was delighted when she chose to study Jane Goodall for her biography project at school last year. Some of the highlights about Jane Goodall’s life that we learned:

  • Jane Goodall was born in London, England on April 3rd, 1934.
  • As a child, she had a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee.
  • She loved observing animals, and one of her first experiences was hiding out in their chicken coop so she could see a chicken lay an egg.
  • Her friend invited her to travel to their home in Kenya, Africa when she was twenty-three years old.
  • While in Africa, Jane Goodall became an ethologist, a scientist who studies animal behavior.
  • She worked for Louis Leakey, who was an anthropologist and paleontologist.
  • Jane observed chimpanzees in their natural habitat and made the groundbreaking discovery that they make and use simple tools.
  • Jane Goodall created a global community to protect chimpanzees and help improve the natural world,
  • Her work can be found at JaneGoodall.org and RootsandShoots.org.

We hope that by learning more about Jane Goodall’s work, we can continue her legacy!


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5 Books to Learn about Jane Goodall

These were our favorite books about the important work of this incredible woman, a true inspiration to us all.

This article contains some affiliate links.

The Story of Jane Goodall

The Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book for New Readers
by Susan B. Katz
Ages 6+
This was the book my daughter used for her fifth-grade biography project on Jane Goodall. It’s comprehensive, well laid-out, divided into sections, and visually appealing.

Me... Jane

Me … Jane
by Patrick McDonnell
Ages 2+
This award-winning picture book by Patrick McDonnell is perfect for young children, with its simple storyline and adorable illustrations. 

The Watcher

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps
by Jeanette Winter
Ages 4+
This picture storybook is a beautiful retelling of Jane Goodall’s life through delightful illustrations and engaging text. The story’s focus on her as a “watcher” would be a great theme to talk about with your students.

I am Jane Goodall

I am Jane Goodall
by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos
Ages 5+
This little book presents like a graphic novel with lots of interesting type on the page and is part of the Ordinary People Change the World series. It shares not only about Jane Goodall’s history, but also why she did what she did—in the hopes of inspiring others to look after animals and the environment. 

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall: A Champion of Chimpanzees
by Sarah Albee and Gustavo Mazali
Ages 4+
This I Can Read! book is a Jane Goodall biography for beginning readers. With simple language and illustrations, this is a perfect introduction to Goodall’s work.

5 Yoga Poses to Mimic Chimpanzees 

This list of yoga poses inspired by chimps is sequenced specifically to flow from one pose to the next. Don’t worry about getting the poses perfectly aligned; just give it a go and have fun. Once you’re ready to practice yoga, simply clear a space and practice barefoot on a non-slip surface. Practicing on a yoga mat is ideal if you have one. 

For each pose, imagine that you are a chimpanzee living in the wild. You might add noises of the chimpanzees as you flow through the poses. Use this yoga experience as a springboard to learn more about chimps in the wild and how they are similar and/or different to human beings.

1. Squat Pose

How to practice Squat Pose: Come down to a squat with your knees apart and your arms between your knees. Touch your hands to the ground. Pretend to be a chimp foraging for food on the forest floor.

Squat pose | Kids Yoga Stories
Squat Pose

2. Downward-facing Dog Pose

How to practice Downward-Facing Dog Pose: From all fours, lift your knees to an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air. Ensure that your palms are flat on the ground and that your spine and legs are straight. Press your heels toward the ground and look back through your legs. Now shift forward and start to walk on your hands, pretending to be a chimp walking through the jungle.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose for Kids | Kids Yoga Stories
Downward-Facing Dog Pose

3. Table Top Pose

How to practice Table Top Pose: Come to an all-fours position with your fingers spread out and palms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back and neck are in a straight but neutral position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your hips should be over your knees while the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Pretend to be carrying a baby chimp on your back.

Table Top Pose | Kids Yoga Stories
Table Top Pose

4. Cobbler’s Pose

How to practice Cobbler’s Pose: Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together. Pretend to be sitting together with your chimpanzee family.

Cobbler Pose | Kids Yoga Stories
Cobbler’s Pose

5. Happy Baby Pose

How to practice Happy Baby Pose: Lie on your back with your chin tucked in, hug your knees into your chest, then grab the outer part of your feet with both of your hands, and rock like a happy baby. Pretend to be a chimp lying on its back in the low tree branches.

Happy Baby Pose | Kids Yoga Stories
Happy Baby Pose

To learn more about Jane Goodall’s incredible work today, check out the Jane Goodall Institute.



Jane Goodall: learn about her and her incredible work through books and yoga poses for kids | Kids Yoga Stories

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