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

4.78  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  21 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 32 pages
Published April 15th 2019 by Sleeping Bear Press
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4.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  40 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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I often read books with my daughter that introduce me to people in history that I have never come across in my adult life.

This book is about a young boy, Jadav Payeng, that lives on a small island in northern India. As a young boy, he sees how the monsoon season affects his home. He finds snakes that are left stranded on sand bars and so decides to plant some trees.

He plants bamboo saplings. That's just the beginning. As Jadav grows up, he continues to harvest the forest. What develops is a lush
Gayle Krause
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pre-School and Elementary Teachers
The Boy Who Grew a Forest is an environmental story from the past that could inspire the future. It also shows children that they aren’t too small to make a huge difference in the world they live in. Though it takes place on a small river island in India many years ago, it inspires children anywhere to take charge of their little bit of the world to make their small difference grow into a vastly important one, especially in these times when certain adults ignore the Earth’s pleas for help. Many ...more
Julia Gates
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Genre: Biography- Individual Biography
Awards: N/A
Audience: Ages 6-9 years old.
A. The Boy Who Grew a Forest is a partial biography of a young boy named Jadav Payeng. This book details the time in Jadav's life when he fought against deforestation in India. After he saw the result of deforestation and erosion around his home, he began planting trees in hopes to stop the problem. Years later, the trees he planted grew to be a forest. This book does not detail Jadav's whole life, but it details a ver
Christine Evans
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One person really can make a difference to the world. In the case of Jadav Payeng, his contribution to a better world started when he was just a boy. He realized that erosion was destroying his island so he started to plant bamboo to help stop it. Years passed and a few plants became a forest. Wildlife returned and his home was saved. This is a wonderful book for the classroom, and home, to show kids that they can make a difference and stand up for what they believe in. Back matter includes inst ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book about Jadav “Molai” Payeng who grew up near Majuli Island located in the Brahmaputra River, in northeastern India. As a young teenager, Jadav witnessed the death of hundreds of snakes that floodwaters stranded on a barren sandbar near the
island. Heartbroken, he decided to plant trees. At first, it was difficult for a boy to do alone but with perseverance and dedication, his small collection of bamboo trees grew into a forest. Lovely illustrations tell the incredible true
Laura Roettiger
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Boy Who Grew a Forest is the true story of a boy in India who understood the importance of trees and being an environmentalist. In a time when we hear so much negative news about the environment, it's charming to read a story that shows how one person can make a difference. I know my students will embrace this message and want to learn more about planting trees. The illustrations help create the mood throughout the story as Jadav starts out with saplings and through hard work and perseveranc ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An inspirational story for children and grandchildren of acting locally and having a global impact. Sophia's lilting tone of telling Jadav's story, grows a forest before your eyes. With delicious and rich illustrations, we learn about a young man's vision, determination and humble heroics -- and straightforward lessons about the importance of nature in improving peoples lives. The end notes add perspective and activities for all. A must for your children's library!
Meera Sriram
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of a little change-maker, this book is about a boy who turns compassion into action. One seed, one plant, one tree at a time, he grows a forest. And makes his home, a river island in northern India, a greener home for many species. Written in simple lyrical language, the words flow beautifully to tie in with the lush artwork in earthy tones. The back matter offers readers a way to take action, beyond leaving them touched and inspired - a perfect finish to a children's book!
Vivian Kirkfield
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read book for every child...and parent and teacher! This is the story of one boy's desire to help the animals and bring life back to the land. Lyrical text pairs perfectly with glowing illustrations - kids will feel as if they are right there with Jadav Payeng and will be cheering for his success! Thoughtful back matter and a plant-a-seed activity allow for further engagement.

This is a thoroughly brilliant picture book about an unsung hero that won my heart!
Nanette Heffernan
Sophia Ghotz’s telling of Javad Payeng story is absolutely beautiful. Her use of soft yet powerful language takes the reader on Javad’s journey while he planted, tended to, and protected a forest. Javad’s quote, “Only by growing plants, the earth will survive” is such an important lesson for young readers. Ghotz’s also offers instruction on how to nurture your own seedlings for a hands-on activity, perfect for Earth Day.
Jolene Gutiérrez
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This gorgeous book belongs in every classroom and library! When young Jadav Payeng saw that floods were eroding the land and endangering animals and humans, he wanted to make a difference. Village elders gave him 20 bamboo saplings, and with those saplings, he began growing his forest. His passion for caring for all life grew as his forest grew. Such an inspiring story for kids--one person can make a difference!
Elizabeth Steinglass
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When so much of the news about our environment is overwhelmingly negative, it is refreshing and important to read a biography about a person who has made a positive impact on his local environment. When Jadev was a boy he noticed what happened when the trees were destroyed by flood. He shared his concern with village elders who gave him bamboo to plant. The book illustrates the value of hard work and ingenuity and the relationships between plants and animals.
Yevgenia Nayberg
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Based on the true story, The Boy Who Grew a Forest takes you on a journey to India. It is a touching story about compassion and love for nature. This picture book introduces a young reader to animals and plants in a poetic way. You witness the growth of a child and a growth of a forest together- a beautiful metaphor for the cycle of life. The plant-growing instructions at the end add a lovely interactive component that kids would surely enjoy!
Shannon Stocker
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This inspiring true story about a boy who yearned to make a difference in the world should find a home on every bookshelf. Eloquently written and beautifully illustrated, this touching story reinforces that small actions are never small, but instead can serve as the foundation for something much bigger. We are limited only by what we can envision. Thanks to Jadev "Molai" Payeng's vision, a home now exists for countless plants and animals in a most unexpected place.
Julie Abery
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Boy Who Grew a Forest is the true and inspirational story of Jadav Payeng. Distressesed by the effects of deforestation and erosion to his island home in India, Jadav made it his lifelong mission to plant a forest! Lyrically written, with artwork which beautifully complements the text, this biography is a must read for all.
Danielle Dufayet
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a college student, I had a bumper sticker that said: Have you hugged a tree today? So, naturally I love this book! What a beautiful, inspiring story of love and dedication. It truly only takes one person to care and make a huge difference. Taking care of our earth is the noblest thing we can do. This is a wonderful addition to meaningful picture books!
Sherry Howard
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the lush cover to the lyrical words inside, this is a delightful representation of Jadav Payeng’s life’s work. This story will help children examine the environment, and how changes and choices make a difference. What a wonderful story of the impact of one person! It ends with a call to action sure to inspire children to do more for their world.
Rene Steven
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stunning new picture book! It is the true story of a young boy who has a passion to improve his community and world. The illustrations are tremendous and realistic and add so much to the story line. There are several nonfiction connections and activities a young reader can enjoy at the end of the book. Let this story inspire you to improve your community and the world!
B.J. Lee
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this true and inspirational story of Jadav Peyeng, a boy in India who responds to wildlife dying on his island by planting trees. As the trees grow, the animals come back, surely a message for our times. Hopefully this book will inspire children around the world, and their adults, to care for the planet.
Evelyn Bookless
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A stunning book. This beautifully written story details the life of Jadav Payeng, an inspirational environmentalist who amazingly grew a forest starting with just 20 seedlings. The illustrations are gorgeous. But above all, the message is what lingers after every read; that anyone, with enough determination, can make a valuable and lasting difference to our planet and it's people.
Heather Macht
This is such an amazing book! It touches on dreams, determination, conservation, passion, and shows that even young people can change the world. 5 stars for The Boy Who Grew a Forest!
Heather Macht
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Sophia Gholz is a children’s book author, tree-hugger, music lover, magic seeker, and avid reader. As a kid, Sophia spent most of her time riding horses, causing mischief with her brothers, or exploring the globe with her parents. The latter often included tents and forests, while accompanying her father on various scientific adventures.

Sophia grew up in Florida, went to art school in California,