Title: The True Story of Jadav Payeng The Boy Who Grew a Forest
Author: Sophia Gholz
Illustrator: Kayla Harren
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2019
Themes: deforestation, tree planting, habitats, conservation, India, one man power, caring for earth
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.
The second best time to plant a tree is now.
As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction deforestation and erosion was causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River. So he began planting trees. What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals. The Boy Who Grew a Forest tells the inspiring true story of Payeng–and reminds us all of the difference a single person with a big idea can make.
Why I like this book:
This story of a young conservationist change-maker many years ago is wonderfully inspiring and relevant today. Many boys and adults are worried about deforestation, very few turn compassion and concern into action. One seed, one plant, one tree at a time, he grew a bamboo forest.
I love how the book addresses the inevitable challenges of the return of the bamboo habitat, and how this young man deals with them to care for humans and animals in his beautiful river island home in northern India. facing the threat of the return of different species like tigers and elephants, or the human greed for poaching for financial gain, he finds solutions that work for the entire community. Written in simple lyrical language, the words flow beautifully to tie in with the lush earth-tone art.
This is a beautifully written and illustrated environmental biography that will inspire your children/students.
This is the perfect book to read to your class for National Plant a Tree Day, April 1st. Thoughtful back matter and a plant-a-seed activity encourage further engagement from young readers, which is a perfect finish to this biography.
On the author’s website you can find a terrific teacher’s guide created by Marcie Colleen.
Pair this with The Tree Lady.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.