The Boy Who Grew a Forest

I’m back for Perfect Picture Book Friday with a lovely tale about nature, commitment, and the impact of a single person. As a tree-lover, this story hit home, and it’s chock full of food for thought for all of us. Don’t miss it!

Reminder: If you missed Heather Gale’s Mining for Heart post earlier this week, be sure to check it out and leave a comment or share on social media for a chance to win your very own copy of Ho’onani: Hula Warrior!

l_9781534110243_fcTitle: The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

Written by: Sophia Gholz

Illustrated by: Kayla Harren

Sleeping Bear Press, 2019, nonfiction

Suitable for ages: 5-10

Themes/topics: trees, ecosystems, wildlife, India

In India, on a large river island, among farms and families hard at work, there lived a boy who loved trees.
Trees meant shade, food, and shelter for many.

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.

Activities and Resources:
The back matter contains instructions for planting seeds.
Project Learning Tree has some great activities:
Hands-On Activities on Ecosystems  and
Write some different kinds of “poet-tree”

Why I like this book:
Pure and simple – I have a special place in my heart for trees. It probably comes from growing up on a tree farm…but even if I hadn’t, I think I would love trees for their beauty and all they provide. In the story, a young boy leads the way. He grows in capacity along with his forest, becoming stronger with each challenge. The story is empowering for kids – they matter, small efforts make a difference, and their innate sense of justice can reawaken awareness in adults. It also offers up reasons natural areas and wildlife are endangered, food for thought for young and old alike.


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

Visit the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge on Kid Lit Frenzy on Wednesdays for more great nonfiction books for kids!


6 thoughts on “The Boy Who Grew a Forest

  1. Beth,
    What a lovely review of The Boy Who Grew A Forest. Love what you said about how empowering this story is for children to know that they can make a difference. It seems like an inspiring and impactful story. Looking forward to reading it with the little people in my life. And books that encourage a love for nature are worth reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this book. And I, too, am a fan of trees. I planted hundreds with my family when I was child, and now, living in a city, I’m a supporter of Friends of the Urban Forest, a group here in SF that is almost single-handedly greening parts of the city that were lost to concrete. Yay to TREES and to the people who love and plant them!

    Liked by 1 person

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