It is a topic that is on the agenda of every summit- from the local to the international. Climate Change is a not a futuristic term anymore- it is a current term, and it is happening faster than we can handle. There are plenty of things we, as humans, can do- but one of the most impactful things we could even do is preparing the next generation to care for their planet. Katha’s new series – The Earth Carer Series does that through two beautiful media- Storytelling and Art. The series has three books, one of them based entirely on a poem. Here’s a detailed review of the three books.
Based on the poem by Klara Kottner-Benigni, A Tree is a visual treat. Conveying the story of trees through many Indigenous art forms like Gond, Warli, Madhubani, Kurumba and Bhil Art, every page in the book boasts a beautiful tree. The art brings home facts we might likely forget- that while we cut trees, there is a lot going on for them. There are leaves which are alive, fruits on them which are ripening, birds who make their abode on them, bees who make their hive on them, animals who sit and rest under them.
The brilliant illustrations nudge us( not just children) to think how much Nature provides, and how we still mindlessly destroy everything that nurtures us. Famous tree-saving movements like the Chipko Movement find mention in the book. The book leaves us with many ideas and leads to step up and care for the trees around us- from encouragement to form tree-hugger Clubs to forming our own movements. After all strength comes from numbers!
While the effects of climate change and global warming may not necessarily be beautiful, Katha packs a punch in its messages with art and poetry. Also, the complex subject of climate change is made simple and more important, actionable, in this book. By first taking us through the wonders of Nature, The Earth Carer’s Guide To Climate Change gently lets us in on what we are really doing to this planet.
The book includes poems, stories, and interesting snippets of information from multiple accomplished authors and artists, all embedded in beautiful art from all over the world, emphasizing that climate change is not the problem of one community or person or country. What affects one corner of the world, will affect the other end as well, and this is beautifully brought out by juxtaposing work from various corners of the world- A folk song from India conveys the same thing as an old folk song from Japan, for instance. The book also has plenty of suggestions for making a difference as an individual- emphasizing that a child is an individual enough.
Art is magic, but the magic can get real when art transforms the life of an artist. Dotted lines, the third book in the series is a visual art project following the life of a real-life indigenous artist called Bhuri Bai. Published in visual autobiographical style with a generous dose of art between the pages, Dotted Lines was brought to life by filmmaker and indigenous art researcher Debjani Mukherjee.
Dotted Lines traces the story of Bhuri, the first woman artist from her community to show the courage and determination in her love for painting. Bhuri is forced to move to the city to work as a laborer, but the love for her art pulls her life back towards art. But, change is never about ‘going back to the same thing.’ Bhuri has to reinvent herself while sticking to the core values of her artistic self and shine the love for her art.
How does Bhuri do it?
A true story, Dotted Lines beautifully tell us the place of art in the hearts of an indigenous artist’s life. Art is like prayer for them and is completely entwined with all aspects of their lives. Here’s Debjani(on indigenous artists) – ” Their own indigenous art, for the community artists, is much more than decorating the walls of their houses. There is an elevation in the status of art that makes it akin to a way of life for them. ”
Bringing this to a child is a great way to help them appreciate the vast richness of lives beyond their own, to help them see perspectives of lives far removed from their own.
In typical Katha style, the Earth Carer Series books leave you with a lot of thinking points and action points. More importantly, it leaves a young child feeling more powerful than they thought.
For power, all we need is for hope and action to come together!