Mahtab Narsimhan: The Boy and the Banyan Tree – A Story About Gratitude and Giving Back

September 29, 2023

Author Mahtab NarsimhanWelcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s book creators! Today’s guest: Mahtab Narsimhan. Take it away, Mahtab!

Who is the tree in your life?

And whom will you be a tree to?

There are many people in our lives, family, friends, teachers, and mentors, who nurture us and make us who we are today. How often do we remember them, or thank them? This was the inspiration for the story of a boy who comes back to look after the tree who gave him the best gifts in life: wisdom and independence. The tree being a metaphor for someone who made you, you.

The pandemic brought a lot of sorrow, but it also forced us to slow down and reach out to our loved ones to show that we appreciate them, and we care. It reminded us to spend time with them and make them a part of our busy lives again.

In The Boy and the Banyan Tree, a curious young boy loves spending time with a wise old banyan in his village. Whenever he wants something, she shows him how to earn it: a better strategy than giving it to him. As he matures, the wisdom the tree imbues in him, helps him navigate life surrounded by friends instead of strangers. Eventually, the boy returns to his community and to the banyan tree, completing the circle of friendship, of caring, and paying it back.

While reading this story, I hope kids will appreciate the nurturers in their lives, now. And parents will be inspired to reach out to those who shaped them and give back in some way. This story might also inspire the younger generation to be a “tree” to a sibling or a friend, ensuring that the circle of life, love, and caring, will go on.

This book is published by Scholastic Canada and illustrated by Dharmali Patel. You can pre-order a copy at your favourite bookstore for yourself, or for a child in your family.

This Discussion Guide with relevant curriculum ties will help teachers bring this story to their classrooms and will spark interesting discussions with their students.

For more information about Mahtab Narsimhan, please visit her website and connect with her on Twitter/X @MahtabNarsimhan.

The Boy and the Banyan Tree by Mahtab Narsimhan


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