111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl

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 (Source).

Rina lives in Canada but was born and grew up in a small town in India, which didn’t even have a public library. When she arrived in Montreal, the first thing she did was to apply to the MFA program in Creative Writing at Concordia University. Later, she got a teaching degree from McGill University as well. That’s where Rina did a course in Children’s Literature and that changed my life. She fell in love with picture books and wanted to write her own for children. After a decade in Montreal, Rina moved to Toronto to teach art, drama and writing to children and started to write books too. Now, she does readings and workshops in schools, libraries, and literary festivals across Canada. She also got to present at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (2014) in Singapore and Reading for the love of it in Toronto (2015). Rina gave up her full-time teaching job in 2016 to devote more time to writing. But she misses teaching so sometimes she teaches writing workshops in schools and libraries. Rina also is a Spoken Word coach for tdsbCREATES (Source).

Marianne Ferrer is a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and author from Montreal, Canada (Source).

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