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As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction caused by deforestation and erosion in 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 a 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 of all the difference a single person with a big idea can make.
The author, Sophia tells you an inspiring story of Jadav “Molai” Payeng. Jadav is a teenager from the Majuli Island- which is one of the world’s largest river island located in Brahmaputra. So what sort of story is this about Jadav that made him an inspiration to many people? Do you believe that even kids get inspired reading this book.
Prone to seasonal flooding and erosion, the Majuli Island witnessed the death of thousands of snakes in flooded water on barren sandbars. Heartbroken and depressed, Jadav approached the elders in the village for a way to bring back the greenery and wildlife back on the island.
He is given twenty bamboo saplings which he planted. He took really good care of them by watering them regularly and also devised a watering system. But did that stop the river from flooding? No. SO he had bring in earthworms, termites to make the soil richer. He even brought back seeds from neighboring places to cultivate varied vegetation.
He came across many hurdles- men wanting to harvest for homes, elephant from farms to feed on crops, hunters approaching for fur. But how did Jadav manage. Yes, he had a solution for every problem that came up. He grew some for harvesting, fruit trees to feed elephants and protected wildlife from hunter.
What initially started as 10 acre became 20…then 30…40 and is now a 1300 acre forest named after him as Molai. If you can compare the reality, it is larger than 900 football grounds. He is known as the forest man, who single handedly created the forest. In fact it’s rightly said if I mention he created an ecosystem to support the animals and also continue growing and maintaining the forest.
If this effort by a teenager could make a better place for living why not us? If a single man could create a 1300 acre forest, why not us. A small difference that we make is going to bring in a bigger change and provide the future generation with a greener place with rich wildlife. Why don’t we make this change come true?
The illustrations were very supportive to the narration. You can really see the story come alive when you read the book. The theme of the story is environment-based and is sure to inspire your kid to look up to someone who also saves the world in a different way.
Sophia and Kayla have unitedly worked for the mission of creating a book for young readers to read, inspire, empower, protect and care for the environment. This idea of bringing in inspiration through a book to young readers is commendable.
The end note of the author telling us to plant a seed and we never know what it would become is what makes all the difference. I’m sure that if each kid/parent who reads the book would want to do their part to save the greenery around us, then the mission of the author would be accomplished.
Writing and Presentation: 4.5/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sophia Gholz is a children’s book author, music lover, magic seeker, and avid reader.
As a child, Sophia was a passionate reader and artist. When not reading or drawing, she could be found at the farm riding horses or out causing mischief with her brothers.
As a grown up, Sophia is still an avid reader, art fanatic, and mischief-maker. When she’s not writing, you can find Sophia on Twitter, in her cave (aka office) or running around after the kids, dogs or any combination of the two.
Sophia grew up in Florida, went to art school in California, and met her husband in Manhattan. She’s now enjoying life by the beach with her family.
A version of this was first published here.
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