“Inspiring and gorgeous, this tale of balance restored (by respecting the role of women and the environment) is utterly compelling.”
Sundar is raised in a village who celebrates the birth of boys with the banging of pots and pans and the sharing of sweets, but meets the birth of girls with silent disappointment. Seeing the land around the village ravaged by marble mining, Sundar decides to act for change and runs to become (and is chosen to be) his village leader. After the death of his oldest daughter (paralleling his loss of his mother as a boy), Sundar’s grief finds solace in planting trees in her memory and is inspired to honor all girls by planting 111 trees whenever a girl is born, and ensuring they have an education rather than becoming child brides. While Sundar initially experiences resistance, “slowly, very slowly, the villagers begin to understand that by welcoming girls and planting trees, they might bring balance back to nature.” A true story, the message of this book is poignant and one of overwhelming hope for the change a single individual can inspire. By breaking the cycle and investing in the future of both women and the environment, the village of Piplantri flourishes and enters a cycle of sustainable joy. The illustrations—created with a stunning color palette—have a cultural flavor that feels fresh and modern and engage the reader with their art and emotion.
In a small village in India, a boy grows up to make a huge difference in his community by planting trees to celebrate the birth of every girl. Based on a true story, this book celebrates environmental sustainability, community activism and ecofeminism.
This is the story of Sundar Paliwal, who is from a small Indian village ruled by ancient customs. As he grows to be a man, Sundar suffers much heartbreak and decides it is time for change to come to his village. Sundar is determined to live in a place where girls are valued as much as boys and where the land is not devastated by irresponsible mining. Sundar’s plan? To celebrate the birth of every girl with the planting of 111 trees. Though many villagers resist at first, Sundar slowly gains their support. And today, there are over a quarter of a million trees in his village, providing food, water and opportunities for women to earn a living. His efforts have turned a once barren and deforested landscape into a fertile and prosperous one where girls can thrive.
Based on true events in the life of Sundar Paliwal, and written in collaboration with him, Rina Singh’s uplifting story shows how one person can make a difference in a community. Beautiful illustrations by Marianne Ferrer sensitively bring the evolution of the village to life. With strong links to the science curriculum, this book offers lessons on environmental awareness, sustainability and stewardship, as well as the concept of ecofeminism. It also explores ideas of social development, community and culture, and the character education traits of responsibility and cooperation. A thoroughly researched author’s note with photographs and more information about the village of Piplantri is included.
Rina Singh is an internationally published children’s author and has written fifteen books for children including A Forest of Stories, which has been translated in several languages. She has written an award-winning biography on the Inuit artist, Pitseolak Ashoona. Her most recent publications are Holi Colors, Diwali: Festival of Lights and Nearly Nonsense, and Guru Nanak. Her upcoming book A Meeting in the Sky is a World War II story. Holi Colors got starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly. Rina has done readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada, including TD Children’s Book Week in 2012 and 2018. In 2014, she also presented at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and Reading for the Love of it in Toronto (2015). She is an Ontario Certified Teacher and has taught visual arts, drama, and creative writing in Toronto for 25 years. She is also a tdsbCREATES mentor artist for Spoken Word. She lives in a blue house in Toronto. Surrounded by birds, pesky squirrels, a rabbit and goldfish in an outdoor pond, she dreams of writing more stories for children. She also loves elephants but to meet them she has to travel to far away places.
Marianne Ferrer was born in Venezuela and immigrated to Canada in 1998. After attending Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, for illustration and design, she completed her education in graphic design at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her style is characterized by its charm, delicacy and depth. Marianne lives in Montreal, Quebec.