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

by Sophia Gholz (Author) Kayla Harren (Illustrator)

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Recipient of the 2019 Eureka! Honors Award

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.

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School Library Journal

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.—Barbara Auerbach, Cairo Public Library, NY

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
March 15, 2019
BISAC categories
JNF007050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Cultural Heritage
JNF037040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Trees & Forests
JNF037020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Conservation & Protection
JNF038020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | Asia
Library of Congress categories
Paacyecna, Yaadawa
Jorhaat (District)

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