Take a ride with grandmother in her magical boat and learn about the backwaters.

No message is better conveyed than the one put across in the form of a story. That's where the book Nammude Kayalukal – Paristhithiyum Avasavyvasthayum (Our Backwaters – Environment and Ecosystem) by Unni Ammayambalam scores. For, it gives in-depth information to students about the relevance of backwaters in the State, their history, and their losing sheen by way of a story.

Magical ride

The narration progresses mainly by way of conversation between a grandmother, whom the author has symbolised as the custodian of all knowledge about the nature, and the two ever-enthusiastic children who never really have enough from her. The grandmother possesses a magic boat which can fly at her will. She takes her two young listeners along with the readers to those backwaters about which she is narrating.

“These days I am getting many calls from children asking whether that magic boat mentioned in the book is a reality,” says an excited Unni, faculty at the Chavara International Academy at Vazhakulam.

The book had its genesis in a small article he wrote about backwaters in a local daily. The kind of response that article evoked left him thinking about a book on the topic. He also had the backing of the owner of the publication company Grand Books Kiliroor Radhakrishnan.

The response for the book has been good, Unni says. “Most of them were impressed with the simplicity of narration,” he says. Some readers, however, felt that there was more information that a young mind can take in. “Maybe I have packed in too much information in my excitement,” he says.

The narrative style was evolved from a classroom skit on backwaters he had organised in an effort to make learning more interesting. The story-like narration got the students hooked in instantly prompting him to adopt it in his book as well.

The 111-page book with 17 chapters, deals with every aspect of the backwaters. The story ends on a touching note as the grandmother rows the boat into the horizon and the children keep watching her till she disappears from sight.

Moved by the grandmother's tale the children are determined to conserve the backwaters and Nature in whatever way they can. And the author succeeds in getting the readers also share that sentiment.