The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

illus. by Kayla Harren. 32p. glossary. Sleeping Bear. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534110243.
Gr 1–5—"In India, on a large river island, among farms and families hard at work, there lived a boy who loved trees." Prompted by the alarming death of hundreds of snakes stranded on a barren sandbar when he was just a boy, Jadav went to the elders of his village. They explained that the floodwaters cause erosion, which gradually shrinks the island, leaving animals homeless and stranded, like the snakes. The village gave young Jadav 20 bamboo saplings to plant. Not only did he plant the trees, he also devised a watering system and created richer soil, eventually planting more than 1,300 acres of trees. Soon, birds, snakes, rhinos, and elephants returned. When tigers appeared, threatening the villagers, Jadav planted more grasses to attract small animals to appease them. When elephants ventured onto village farms to eat their crops, he planted fruit trees to satisfy them. His understanding of ecology and human responsibility make him a hero. His decision to make a difference as a child will empower young readers. An author's note, glossary, and instructions on planting are included. Lush, realistic illustrations document young Jadav's sadness, fear, determination, and eventual success as readers watch the barren, disintegrating island transform into a living forest supporting all manners of life.
VERDICT An inspirational read-aloud for units on plants, the environment, or Earth Day.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing