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The Boy Who Grew A Forest

The Boy Who Grew A Forest_Sophia Gholz.p

Click below to watch the official book trailer:

Curriculum guide:

Click the PDF icon to download the free classroom guide.


For additional crafts and resources CLICK HERE or visit the Teacher Guide tab on the menu above.

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*For the German edition,


visit the link below:

*For the French edition,


visit the link below:

  • North Carolina Children's Book Award Nominee

  • Florida State Book Award Gold Medal

  • South Carolina Children's Book Award Nominee

  • Green Earth Book Award Honor

  • CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

  • Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Honor Award

  • CBHL Annual Literature Award Nominee

  • Nile Delta Book Award Winner

  • SONWA Award Winner, Young Children's Literature

  • SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Winner

  • Keystone State Literary Award Shortlist

  • WSRA Children's Literature Committee Recommended Books

  • RWR Best Book, Most Inspirational Books category


In India, there is a boy who loves nature. The boy treasures his precious river-island and the wildlife who share it with him. But each year he witnesses animals displaced from loss of habitat, while his island slowly erodes away. He worries that if animals whither without trees, people will too. With nothing but a handful of bamboo saplings, the boy sets out on a mission to reclaim the land the river has taken.


The Boy Who Grew A Forest follows the true story of Mishing tribesman, Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly planted over twelve hundred acres of lush forest on a once barren island in northeastern India. 

Sleeping Bear Press, 3/15/19 

ISBN-10: 1534110240

ISBN-13: 978-1534110243


"Gholz's respect for Jadav's accomplishments shines through in her endearing presentation of his life...The Boy Who Grew a Forest celebrates an incredible man and arouses in its audience a respect for nature that may motivate them to follow in Jadav's footsteps. Superb."

Shelf Awareness *Starred Review 

"Payeng’s story is eloquently told and beautifully illustrated. It will inspire readers to recognize the power of individual determination..."


"...the story provides young children with a real-life example of the connections between man and nature."


"Lush, realistic illustrations document young Jadav's sadness, fear, determination, and eventual success as readers watch the barren, disintegrating island transform into a living forest supporting all manners of life. VERDICT: An inspirational read-aloud for units on plants, the environment, or Earth Day."

—School Library Journal

"Hopeful and inspiring..."

—Horn Book Guide

For a full list of reviews, Click HERE.

  • Celebrate Picture Books feature interview with Sophia Gholz and Kayla Harren, in conjunction with World Bamboo Day, for the cover reveal of The Boy Who Grew a Forest. Click HERE. 

  • The New York Botanical Garden's Mertz Library features The Boy Who Grew A Forest as a Young Reader's Spring selection. Click HERE.


  • Watch author Sophia Gholz appear on The Buzz television show to talk about The Boy Who Grew A Forest. Click HERE.

  • 2019 South Asian titles to look forward to from KitaabWorld: "This inspiring story has a lesson for us all!"

For more featured articles and news, Click HERE.

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