111 Trees

Written by: Rina Singh

Illustrated by: Marianne Ferrer

Published by: Kids Can Press

Curated by: BGC Canada

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 Piplantri, a small village in North India. As he grows to be a man, Sundar witnesses how irresponsible mining ravages the countryside and how ancient customs and beliefs cause gender inequality and discrimination. He decides it’s time for change to come to his village. 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.

Categories: Culture, Equity, Diversity, Community, Gender