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Diwali special: Read your way to the light

  • Gift a book that sparks a young imagination this Diwali
  • ’What we love, we conserve’ is the message we need to give children

’What we love, we conserve’ is the message we need to give children.
’What we love, we conserve’ is the message we need to give children. (Photo: iStock)

Often, the best books on environment and climate change don’t address these issues directly, but evoke a sense of wonder about the natural world. In the much quoted words of Senegalese forestry engineer and activist Baba Dioum at the 1968 meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in Delhi: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." Lounge picks five books that talk to children about loving and conserving:

Speaking Tiger Books (2019),  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>399
Speaking Tiger Books (2019), 399


by Bijal Vachharajani

This delightful—and often scary—novel for teenage readers (and adults) begins with a big brown cloud hovering ominously over the city of Mumbai. Brown clouds are an environmental phenomenon caused by the accumulation of airborne particles and pollutants, and Vachharajani uses it as a real threat to the city as well as a clever metaphor for all the chatter around climate change without anyone (except the children at the heart of this novel, obviously) actually doing anything about it. Bitingly funny in bits, especially the caricature of a famous news television anchor, this novel will evoke laughter and thought.

Speaking Tiger Books (2019), 399

Viking, Penguin (2019),  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>499
Viking, Penguin (2019), 499


by Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli

The authors of this book believe trees are nature’s own museums, telling stories about the generations that planted them and the ones that have inherited them. Nagendra and Mundoli set about writing this book because they saw children in cities failing to identify common trees in their backyard: the neem, jamun, imli trees that are still abundant in urban areas. Not exactly a children’s book, Cities And Canopies is a book for anyone willing to reacquaint themselves with these gentle giants.

Viking, Penguin (2019), 499

Goodearth Books (2019),  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>315
Goodearth Books (2019), 315


by Bulbul Sharma

In this illustrated story for slightly younger readers about the symbiotic relationship between animals and trees, beloved children’s writer and artist Bulbul Sharma spins a fine yarn about a woodcutter who wants to cut ancient deodar trees in the forests of the Himalayas and how the animals save their friends—the trees—by hatching a clever plan. Along the way, young readers will also learn about the Himalayan ecosystem and the birth of rivers.

Goodearth Books (2019), 315

Duckbill Books (2016),  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>295
Duckbill Books (2016), 295


by Mitali Perkins

This novel doesn’t approach environment activism directly but draws the reader into the peculiar, ancient world of the Sundarbans as they follow the protagonist, Neel, a bright young boy reluctantly preparing to go live in the big city. His adventures involve saving an escaped tiger cub and thwarting Big Business.

Duckbill Books (2016), 295

Scholastic India (2010),  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>119
Scholastic India (2010), 119


by Ranjit Lal

Were you intrigued and enchanted by the dance of the trio of Blue Carousels in the Netflix show Our Planet? If that sparked an interest in finding out more about the birds in our immediate urban environment, look no further than this book by well-known nature writer Ranjit Lal, whose fascination for the clownish Coppersmith Barbets that hopped on to his windowsill led him on this journey. This is a book for the seasoned birdwatcher as well as the enthusiastic amateur.

Scholastic India (2010), 119

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