The Miracle on Sunderbaag street is a gorgeous picture book by Nandita da Cunha , wonderfully illustrated by the brilliant Priya kuriyan
The story starts with young Zara in a cold, grey, gloomy dump yard, a place where no one wants to be, a place where she could escape and be alone, amongst rusty old cans and car parts. One day, her old craft teacher, Ms. Gappi barges in with her red bowl of grains for the sparrows. Ms. Gappi’s upcycling skills catch Zara ‘s attention, and soon she is intrigued . Finally ‘crafty’ Ms. Gappi plants an idea – and Zara begins her mission to rebuild the park. Slowly help pours in and everyone pitches in to transform the space. Finally the most famous resident comes to meet Zara and he brings her the most incredible plant of all…
Priya kuriyan’s brilliantly conceived and meticulous crafted artwork made with different materials add a distinctive and spectacular flair to this book. Seeing the cloth on Zara’s clothes , yarn in Mrs. Gappi’s hand, the texture of the mud, the vibrant green of the fresh sprout, the seeds in the bird feeder, I actually ran my hands over the pages, almost wishing it was one of those early touch-and-feel picture books.
The fact that this is indeed a real life miracle, a story is based on a one-acre green lung, nestled among concrete buildings on D’Monte Park Road, in Bandra, Mumbai is probably one of the most heartwarming and inspiring part of the book. It is a vital reminder that a small group of people , inspired by a conscious need to bring a change is the only prerequisite to save the planet – indeed a poignant reminder that “We are the change we are waiting for”
#Lifelessons from Nature
…Gardening can teach us many life skills. Patience, hope, hardwork. Understanding the hard work and the process it takes to get food from farm to table is another important learning .Discuss benefits we get from learning to garden.
…The book talks about residents bringing in bedsheets full of dry leaves. Did you know by burning dried leaves we only add to the air pollution, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Bio-degradable waste like leaves should never be treated as garbage nor should they go to landfills. Dried leaves layered them on the garden soil mimicks forest soil, which is alive with insects, nutrients, moisture and so sustains itself.
…Miss Gappi and later Zara find new uses for many things from birdfeeders to benches. Explore the importance of recycling and upcycling to stop our landfills from bursting at the seams. Why is it important?…Create your own trash to treasures and bring in a unique touch to your home, as the planet smiles upon you
#Emotions and Service
…Why do we want to be alone when we are sad? Why do we hesitate to share our sorrow as easily as we share our happiness?
…The loss of a loved one is a devastating experience at any age. Under the obvious reluctance to be social ,our lives unravel with a surge of feeling of powerlessness. Volunteering can help us become agents of positive change and take part in something that is much larger than ourselves or our grief. Think about how by making this choice, we can feel like we are commanding control and in turn harness energy where there is none currently.
…Think of why helping the community and volunteering should thus be an important part of a child’s regular routine.
Thank you Nandita Da Cunha and Priya Kuriyan for this wonderful book. Indeed , miracles do happen when you give back to a world that showers its love upon you freely and endlessly. (Recommended for anyone 5+ to empower change)
You can get your copy at https://kalpavriksh.org/our-store/the-miracle-on-sunderbaag-street/ or at darling independent bookstores like Kahani Tree and Funky Rainbow
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