The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav PayengBy: Sophia Gholz
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: March 2019
Reviewed by: Gina Montanha
Review Date: May 8, 2019
This wonderful little story briefly outlines the life of a young Indian boy named Jadav Payneg and his home near Majuli Island in northeastern India. As a young teenager in 1979, he became quite distraught when the annual floodwaters would steal away the land, little by little. He knew how important trees were for so many reasons and as the trees washed away, animals went with them. When he saw hundreds of dead snakes he knew he had to do something to help.
The elders of his village were able to provide him with bamboo saplings, which he painstakingly planted, watered and nurtured, all on his own for many years. Even after the bamboo was a great success, he continued to do everything in his power to assure there would be plenty of food and shelter for the wild animals of the land. From his 20 original saplings, he eventually fostered a 40-acre forest that has since been named after him!
The beautiful illustrations of Jadav growing from a boy to a man accompany the development and maturity of the forest, as it goes from barren browns to lush greens. All of the animals depicted are simple, yet realistic, from bunnies and birds to rhinos and tigers. The author even includes instructions at the end of the book on how to “Plant a Forest of Your Own.”
Quill says: The Boy Who Grew A Forestis an incredible true story of how one small boy’s big dream literally grew into a thriving reality. It is possible for a single person to make a big difference in the world!