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June 15, 2010 > Two Tales From a Kid!

Two Tales From a Kid!

By Alyson Whitaker

Making up stories is a common pastime for children. With active imaginations and the enthusiasm of the early school years, it's not uncommon to find bits and pieces of stories and rudimentary illustrations on notebook pages or scraps of paper.

Pavan Raj Gowda is no different. Since kindergarten, Pavan has displayed an interest in writing. He won a "Young Author" district award in kindergarten for his story "Don't Be Mean to Friends." The story is about a giant who treats others poorly until he realizes that if he shows some kindness, he will make friends. This story, along with a second tale, "The Two Lakes," has been made into a book and will go on sale in local bookstores this week.

"Two Tales from a Kid!" contains the two short stories penned by Pavan. Now in the fourth grade, Pavan hopes that his book will help raise awareness among children about the importance of being kind-to friends, and to our environment.

In second grade, Pavan noticed that students at school were not picking up their trash or taking care of their school grounds. This inspired him to write "The Two Lakes." The story is about two separate lakes, one treated with care, and the other mistreated, and the grave consequences of environmental neglect.

Getting the book published was no easy task. There were months of back and forth communications with the publisher as details were ironed out. Pavan had created drawings to go along with his two stories, but to make it appealing to more than his family, a professional illustrator was contracted. The illustrator, Lowell Hildebrandt, used Pavan's original drawings as the blueprint for the final illustrations which accompany the book.

As Pavan's environmental awareness has grown over the past few years, he searched for ways to make a difference. He knew that the internet provided a much broader reach than any other medium. With the help of his mom, Shanti Balaraman, Pavan started the website "Green Kids Now" (www.greenkidsnow.org). Now an official 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, the foundation aims to educate children and their families about the small changes we all can make in our everyday lives which can positively impact the environment. Their motto is "Let's save our planet! Together, everything is possible!"

The website content is written completely by Pavan. His mom plays the role of secretary and web designer, updating content based on Pavan's vision for a brighter, cleaner future for our planet Earth. Pavan hopes that other children will begin to come forward with additional writing content and ideas to add to the site. He has committed to donate all proceeds from the sale of his book, to Green Kids Now, to help fund community projects related to environmental concerns.

One of Pavan's immediate goals is to improve waste management at his school, Glenmoor Elementary, and other schools in the Fremont Unified School District. Right now, all lunch waste gets dumped into one bin. Having a uniform and standardized process for properly disposing of food waste, recyclables, compostable materials, and packaging, reduces what ends up in the landfill. Pavan and his mom are talking with the school administration, StopWaste.org, Allied Waste, and Fremont City Council to standardize and improve the waste management.

In his spare time, Pavan is just like any other 10-year old. He is active in sports, participates in a weekly martial arts program, plays the piano, loves to swim and play with his younger sister.

The toughest hurdle for Pavan right now is his age. He is wise beyond his years, and many people don't take him seriously. When he grows up, he dreams of being an entrepreneur creating environmental solutions. He also plans to continue writing.

"Two Tales From a Kid!" is available internationally, and last week, Pavan's mom received an email from a school librarian in Melbourne, Australia. They requested an autographed copy of the book, and wanted information on how they could become an active part of Green Kids Now. It's exciting for Pavan to see his vision taking hold on the other side of the world.

Pavan will be at the Fremont Barnes & Noble in Fremont on Thursday, June 17 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. His book will be on sale, and he'll be signing autographs. Barnes and Noble has graciously offered to donate to Glenmoor School, 10 percent of all sales from the entire store during these two hours.

Meet Pavan Raj Gowda
Author: "Two Tales From a Kid!"
Thursday, June 17
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Book Store
3900 Mowry Ave., Fremont
www.greenkidsnow.org

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