Much useful and reasonably priced reading material for children, focussing on environmental issues, is available now.
Books teach green the fun way
ANIMAL stories have always been the staple fare of children's fiction, but now a conscious attempt is being made by some publishers to bring out children's books with environmental themes. These publications are generally well illustrated and this makes them even more attractive to children.
The 1991-92 collection of Children's Book Trust has 12 titles listed under Wild Life/Environment. These range from stories like Little Tiger Big Tiger to mini-compendiums like Some Indian Birds. They are all priced inexpensively, from Rs 9 to 19. Hindi titles include Kuchh Bharatiya Pakshi, Sujatha aur Jungli Haathi and Haathi: Ek Anokha Pashu.
The National Book Trust publishes books for general readers of different age-groups on a variety of subjects in 13 languages, including English. It provides assistance also to authors, illustrators and publishers to bring out books for children, neo-literates and others.
In the section India -- The Land and The People, NBT has several useful titles like H Santapau's Common Trees, S K Jain's Medicinal Plants and P K Das' The Monsoons. NBT has another series on Popular Science dealing with specialised topics like genetics and telecommunications in a simple, readable style.
The Nehru Bal Pustakalaya is a series published by NBT on subjects ranging from science and technology to history and is intended especially for children. The books cater to four age-groups: pre-school, 6 - 8, 8 - 11 and 11 - 14. All have a profusion of colour and black-and-white illustrations, line drawings and photographs. The titles in this series include Jayant Narlikar's A Journey Through The Universe, Ravi Paranjape's A Story about Water, Ramesh Bijlani's Our Body, K S Sekharam's Our Useful Plants and Zai and Rom Whitaker's The Snakes Around Us.
NatureScope-India is a creative education series brought out by the Centre for Environment Education. It is dedicated to making children understand and appreciate the natural world while also developing the skills they will need to make responsible decisions about the environment. The first title in the series -- Amazing Mammals -- has just been published at a price of Rs 40.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences' International Rural Development Centre recently brought out an interesting collection called Five Forest Fables, written by Gunnar Poulsen. Produced with the assistance of the Swedish International Development Authority, this small anthology describes social problems arising out of land use and presents practical solutions to them. The solutions were thought out and practised by the poor, the herders and the farmers themselves.
FAO brings out colourful Earthbird Magazine for children as part of its community forestry unit. The magazine, available in Hindi and English, deals with topics like Our Trees and Forests, Food for the Future and Eat A Tree. It makes full use of the comics format to render a light and readable touch to otherwise tedious subjects.
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