Fandirir.com_Saving the beautiful forest and other short stories
Posted By Humphrey Bwayo Posted On Comment (40)

Laura Ogana’s Saving The Beautiful Forest and Other Short Stories: A Children’s Book with A Global Environmental Agenda

Laura Ogana, a children’s book author in Nairobi, Kenya, believes educating children about the effects of climate will have a long and lasting impact on future generations. Her newly published children’s story and coloring book, “Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories,” contributes to raising awareness on climate action but focusing on tiny humans.

“My journey of awareness on social and environmental issues began back in Primary School. I was a Girl Guide, and I’d take part in tree planting activities,” Ms. Ogana said.

The children’s book comes when there’s been a desperate global call for climate action. In August, IPCC released a shocking report, and the message was clear, “climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying.” The UK Government echoed the same calling for a “Greater Global Ambition “ahead of the COP26 Summit in November.

Three in One, Story and Color Book

The children’s story and color book has three short stories; Kobi Travels To Nairobi, Saving the Beautiful Forest, and What a Christmas. There’s also a question section at the end to encourage reflection. 

While people feel social, environmental, and conservation issues are not for children, Ms. Ogana feels, “It is the best time to plant a seed.”

The featured story of the children’s book, Saving the Beautiful Forest is a tale of human and wildlife conflict. In the story, the protagonist King Simba and the antagonist Chief Mtu come to a peaceful resolution to save the forest after a lengthy dispute leading to forest degradation.

Her story isn’t too farfetched from our realities. The SPM (Summary of Policy Makers) on the IPCC report reads, “It’s unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. As a result, widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.” According to the report, land and ocean have taken up a near-constant proportion of 56% globally per year of CO2 emissions from human activities over the past six decades.

What do the Children Think of the Book and Deforestation?

According to Ms. Ogana, the reception from parents who’ve bought the book is positive. The attendant at the bookstore revealed that most parents were motivated to get the book because of its environmental intention.

“Mum, is the air cleaner in the forest than it is at home?” Leon, a 9-year old boy, asked his mother after reading the book. Cindy, an 8-year-old, was also curious to know if the number of trees affected the amount of rainfall.

On the global scale, there’s an ongoing discussion about how authors can talk to children about climate change in a way that empowers them to act rather than paralyze them with fear. An article by the Guardian also talks about “Tears at Bedtime,” circling over the question, “are children’s books causing climate anxiety?”

Ms. Ogana’s book is quite relatable, in my opinion. The storyline has a conflict and resolution, and best of all, it’s informational. 

“I wish humans and animals could live happily ever after like in the storybook,” Lilian an 8-year old confided in her mother. 

Her choice of illustration on the cover page is also spot on. A boy and girl are planting trees with the help of an older man. Behind them, there are trees and wildlife. Her strategy is geared towards motivating them to make a change.

“The stories are good. I was inspired to show unity on the cover, just like the story does. The whole concept is about how when we go against nature, we lose,” Mel Ogana, the book’s Cover Illustrator, said.

Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories is Printed on Repurposed Paper

Apart from publishing, Ms. Ogana is also an environmental crusader. Her book, Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories, was printed on repurposed paper. She’s also challenged herself to plant as many trees as books she’s published now and in the future.

She’s currently looking to work with printers who use 100% repurposed materials to help save the trees and create awareness on climate action.

“Getting the books published digitally would be perfect, but it would deny children in the village who are close to degradation of forests from gaining awareness on climate change through my stories,” she said.

Sadhguru said, “trees are our closest relatives. What they exhale, we inhale, what we exhale, they inhale.”

There’s a storm brewing politically, socially, and economically. And while it’s possible to veer away from some of these issues, it’s impossible to prevent the after-effects of climate change at a certain threshold. “The one thing that God gave us that animals don’t is the power of choice. It can be a blessing or curse,” unnamed environmentalist.

Change is possible and responsibility is a value we should own. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of one. Plant a tree, don’t litter, teach your child about environmental conservation, the planet needs it now, more than ever. 

Saving the Beautiful Forest and Other Stories is available at Nuria Store, Kenya, Moi Avenue, The One Building, Nairobi. You can also order it online here.

Comments (40)

  • With much interest and love for our environment and our young ones I would really recommend this book. It’s an insight to all of us. The need to conserve our environment and live peacefully in it is all that is required of us. As the editor of the book am impressed with how catchy the stories are and the way they address our today’s livelihood. Looking forward to many more write ups like this @ Laura Ogana

  • Great read! The need to include children to heal our environment is so important. I wish more authors took up the challenge as Ms Ogana.

    As the Swahili people put it – ‘ Udongo uwahi ungali maji’.

    • Thanks Hellen for acknowledging the importance of the book. It’s definitely important to plant the seed in them early. Super glad your kids enjoyed it! Hmmm volume 2… great food for thought!

  • Great job Laura! This is a wonderful book and also an amazing concept. Empowering kids with the knowledge of how to coexist with nature and help in saving our environment is the way to go. Our planet is going to be in great hands. You put the A in Amazing.

    • Hey Robert. Quite an uplifting statement, thank you. A in Amazing 💚. As mentioned in the article, we can’t underestimate the power of one. And indeed, our planet needs to be left in great hands.

      You can check out @stbforest on IG for feedback on the book and to see kids choices of colouring images. No two are ever the same which is pretty cool!

  • Wow!!! This is awesome. Especially that the book has sections that allow children to colour their favorite characters…. It makes the reader feel like they are part of the story. Big up! Kenya is truly going places.

    • Thank you Dola. Yes my intention was to evoke as much feeling as possible and ignite emotion. It is said that emotion is energy in motion and I believe that this drives the point home in addition to action.

      Plus colouring is soooo therapeutic!

  • Great job Laura! I like the approach of teaching the children the value of saving our forest at a tender age, soon am getting few copies for my niece and nephew.

    • Thanks for reading the article and for acknowledging the approach Mito. I’m sure your niece and nephew will enjoy the read.

  • This book took me back to my childhood. Fun, enjoyable, and environmentally conscious. You wrote with such a great sense of humour, I think I cracked a rib at some point.

    For an adults who wants to access/awaken their inner child, this is it. It sure hits the right spot. For children, it’s both fun and educative. And for lovers of nature, it’s an appetizer to the main course, gets you warmed up. In summary, this book is unputdownable and a page-turner. It is both thought-provoking and fun.

    Thanks Lolo, this made for such an interesting read 💓💓. One read ain’t enough, I’m settling in with my coffee cup for round 2.

    • Hahaha. Thanks Phanyce for your message and constant encouragement. I’m glad the book resurrected the child in you lol. Most adults are enjoying the colouring…quite theraputic.

      Enjoy coffee number two with the second read ☕

  • Amazing! Amazing! Work Laura. This book will greatly impact any kid who comes across it. They get to learn about being responsible about their surroundings, by saving nature they save themselves.

    • Wow, well put Martin….’by saving nature they save themselves.’ And it’s time we start looking at it that way. Writing this book opened my eyes to the effort we need to take as a human race.We all have a part to play and I’m challenges to play my part.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment 😊

    • Thanks a lot Eunice. I’m glad you’ve seen the impact the stories could have on the upcoming generation. The seed indeed should be planted in them young.💚

  • Good Job Lo. Congratulations. This is a great start to inspire and impact the upcoming generation. Can’t wait to see what more you have in store.

    • Wow! Thanks Kate. Your message means a lot. I received your message too and YES! I have your copy ready and very much autographed 😅

  • Fantastic work Laura! This goal and technique to educating the children about conserving nature is Godsent. Great job Mel.

  • Kudos Laura,
    This is a good example of living life with a purpose. I believe your book will inspire many children and adults too in taking good care of our environment. How can I get a copy?

  • Hey Laura,

    Thank you for signing your book at your book signing last weekend. Having an autographed copy for one of my kids all-time favorite books is wonderful. They enjoyed every page of the book and we are looking forward to be giving away several as gifts! You are very inspiring.
    Keep soaring and shining. The kids learned a lot and I learned a lot about leaving a legacy and planting a tree that will out live me. More than charged by your work.

  • Hi Steve. I do remember you! We met at the Readathon event at KNT where I was exhibiting my book and yes, book signing as well. It was a pleasure interacting with you at the Readathon and hearing your thoughts on matters books. Thank you for purchasing my book for your child and also for the ones you bought as gifts. From the photos you shared, it’s clearly already an all time favourite! I like how you mentioned at the event that you’d want to start gifting more books than toys and this is a great start! I’m so elated that both you and your child learnt a thing or two about tree planting and its importance. Thank you for your amazing comment and for your encouragement.

  • A delightful book to read!Written in a simple way for our children to learn at a young age the value of preserving our environment while engaging them in answering questions and fun colouring.

    • Thanks for purchasing the book Carol and thanks for the wonderful feedback. It was nice to be able to hand you the book in person 😊.

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