Making Friends with Snakes (But from a Distance) is an unusual book. For one, it has talking snakes that bust myths: Did you know that snakes cannot hear, and they hate milk? Two, they want to be friends with you (but from a distance). The idea for the children’s book, illustrated and written by Rohan Chakravarty and published by Pratham Books, was born during several conversations with herpetologist Romulus Whitaker. For years, Whitaker, founder of Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) has worked with mitigating cases of snake bites, one of the leading causes deaths in India. The trust estimates that over 50,000 people die every year from snake bites. In turn, several thousand snakes are killed. The only way around this complex conundrum is to find a way in which both humans and snakes can co-exist. The book is one of the trust’s many efforts to educate communities about snakes and how to avoid getting bitten.
This time, they’ve started early with children. “Rom wanted to do a book on snakes that can be easily translated into several languages and distributed widely among children across rural and urban India,” says Chakravarty. The book has been published in English, Hindi, Kannada and 10 other regional languages. Here’s a quick excerpt.
The online versions of the entire book can be read here.
Excerpted with permission from Making Friends with Snakes (But from a Distance) by Rohan Chakravarty, published by Pratham Books, Price: Rs 50