NITN | @notintownlive | 27 Jun 2018
'The Green Forest' is the first of a series of children's book he plans to write to encourage his young readers to develop a reading habit, says author Shailen Panda about his debut book.
Congratulations on the release of 'The Green Forest'. Is this your debut as a writer?
Thank you very much. I have been a journalist and an editor with reputed English dailies for several decades but yes, this is my debut as an author.
Would you like to share with us a little about the book's theme?
The main theme on which I have tried to base my book is the immediate and urgent need to protect and preserve flora and fauna around the world. Through the adventures of Gopal and his friends, I have tried to highlight these important issues in the garb of a fairy tale. The story traces the journey of Gopal, an orphan boy raised by animals in the forest, from the time he suffers the most tragic losses in his life to his meeting with the love of his life as a young man, with many exciting adventures along the way. You will have to wait for the other books in the series to find out what happens next!
What urged you to write a children's book? Were you an avid reader as a child?
I love children and enjoy being surrounded by them. I have always been fascinated by a child's happy face brimming over with life and laughter as much as a child leading a life of pain, sorrow and suffering. I'd like to write on life's little ironies in the near future. I have been, and always will be, an avid reader, and I continue to inculcate the love of reading in my young friends.
A friend of mine, a renowned author in his own right, once expressed his concern to me that children's books are a neglected area in our cultural assets. I decided, at that moment, I want to continue to add to this treasure, as it is desperately needed.
What kind of books have inspired you?
Fairy tales and books on animals, birds and nature have appealed to me since my early childhood. Shakespeare, Dickens and other literary greats have always been my heroes. I enjoyed reading the works of PG Wodehouse, Enid Blyton, JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien, among many others, with my daughter when she was growing up. But, more than any book, my own interactions with Nature, my conversations with villagers living close to forests, and forest rangers who bravely protect the wonderful National Parks of India, inspired me to write this story. Writing gives me energy like never before, I feel a divine power keeping me going as I write the entire Green Forest series.
How has the response from readers been so far?
Well, the response from readers so far has been overwhelming. Both children and their parents have appreciated the book. They just can't wait to read the other books in 'The Green Forest' series! â€‹
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