Chennai

A grandfather’s tale about earthworms, our friends

Actor Suriya was presented with a copy of the book

Actor Suriya was presented with a copy of the book | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

To him, a clutch of earth is a living, thriving being and the worms in it make it all the more pleasant. During the last lockdown, Sultan Ahmed Ismail, one of the four pioneers of Vermitech and an eminent ecologist, sat down and wrote a book for children on earthworms titled Mannin Nanban Manpuzhu in Tamil. 

“During the lockdown, none of us could go out, but I wanted to communicate with children and that is how the book on earthworms came to be. I made it like a story book, where a grandfather tells a story to children. I equated the worms to waiters, chefs and cleaners in a restaurant. I have also included simple composting methods that children can themselves do,” explained Prof. Ismail, who is also a member of the State Planning Commission. 

He also heads a committee that had recently submitted a 106-page report to the State government on the impact of hydrocarbon projects. “I have written several books that are textual and meant for the scientific community and to those in the government. But to weave a story for children was a challenging and satisfying experience. I had to delve deep into my past for that,” he said adding that his grandchildren Asma, Hafsa had Husna were his first critiques since they heard him narrate his initial draft. “They liked it and even enabled a few changes, which I was happy to incorporate since the book was after all meant to reach more children across the world,” Professor Ismail added. 

Tiruppur- based Iyalvaagai Publishers, which brings out books for young readers on terrace gardens and natural living, published the book. “Azhageswari of Iyalvaagai took what I wrote and brought the text live with really attractive illustrations by Senthil Natarajan,” he added. 

Actor Suriya, who was presented a copy of the book, appreciated it at an event organised by Uzhavan Foundation. 

Ms. Azhageswari said the book was first written in English and then translated into Tamil by Saravanan. “I met Prof. Ismail during last year’s book fair and this year, the book was released at a simple function. We will bring out the English book shortly,” she said.

So far, Iyalvaagai has brought out 36 books for children, including on Origami, Savithri Bhai Phule, the cow and our economy and celebrating illness. Copies of the book can be had from Iyalvaagai Publishers, each book is priced at ₹100.

For more details, contact 9500125125.


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Printable version | Mar 11, 2022 4:59:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-grandfathers-tale-about-earthworms-our-friends/article65211656.ece