After the successful publication of the ebook version of When The Trees Held Their Breath, the environmental fable I wrote back when I was Greta Thunberg’s age, I’m happy to have now finished the video version with me reading the prose as the haunting, real life black and white photographs cross fade on the screen. I hope you enjoy it, and it has an impact on you. If it does, please feel free to share it far and wide on social media.
Please consider sharing this, make a comment on YouTube, or purchase an ebook via the link below. Proceeds from book sales go towards my efforts to help global reforestation programs.
Since staging her school strike last year, Greta Thunberg, the young, Swedish student, has brought the urgent topic of Climate Change back into the media spotlight. But it is not enough for us to just read and talk about this crisis, we need action now! We all need to do our part, but most importantly we need to put more pressure on our politicians and big business to reverse the effects of Global Warming.
In 1986, when I was Greta’s age, I too was a strong campaigner for environmental issues, as I still am to this day. I have personally grown and planted thousands of trees in the countries I have lived over the years. Unfortunately, back when I was 16, we had no internet, no social media, and you had to walk to the local call box to make a phone call. On top of that, the majority of people still believed that “children should be seen and not heard”, so to get any adult to listen to you was practically impossible! The best I could do was to write about my concerns, so I penned “When The Trees Held Their Breath”, a short, but very powerful piece of poetic prose about the plight of our planet, and sent it to publishers. Hundreds of publishers later, at age 29, a very small imprint picked it up and released it the next year.
Although there was a lot of talk and hype in the media about Climate Change, Global Warming, Animal Extinction, etc. – it was all, quite literally, just ‘hot air’ – the book was a flop! The Right Wing media and book reviewers shredded it, including some hate mail.
It wasn’t all bad news though. Those that did read it were very praiseworthy, and the reaction from people that heard me read it at public events were often brought to tears.
Through the new technology of the internet and self-publishing, I am now able to release my words once more, and I hope more people are listening this time, as it’s now 33 years later and the problem is even worse than ever before. I thought I’d share with you some of the kind reviews people have posted from when it was first released:
“From the first few lines of this book to the very ending it speaks so loudly ! This is an environmentally awakening poetic prose which tells a simple story of how the world we live in has through ‘progress’ created a world of polluted and congested by-products. It is a simple reminder of the state of things on this planet Earth.”
“How can such a small book say so much? This book is deep, moving, enlightening… I could write many more adjectives, however… all that is needed to say is ‘Go read the magic for yourself!'”
“Oh God YES…!!! This book just says it all, says everything that needs to be said LOUDLY to the world about what we are stupidly doing to our dear planet Earth.”
“‘When The Trees Held Their Breath’ by Anthony James Donnelly,is a wonderful story,he captures your mind and brings you into a journey your soul has never been. It is sad that todays world justifies the killing of our Earth for the almighty dollar.This story allows you and encourages you to explore the effects that Humans and Technology have on Our Mother Earth.As an Environmentalist and a future teacher I would reccomend this Magificent Book…”
“This book… well, it blew me away! I’ve always thought I was ‘into the environment’ but once I read this book I realized how little we have achieved. Donnelly doesn’t really talk about ‘issues’ (well, how much can you talk about in so few words!?) but what he does do is write such powerful and poetic images that you are tranced… I was… just a few images in I was off, thinking about how bad this could get unless we REALLY do start doing something to change the mess we are in!”
“This amazing work of art is an inspiration to all; young and old alike to take a step back and look at the disintergration of our beloved planet. As important as progress is, we, THE EARTH’S PEOPLE, have gone too far; mining every last resource of the earth, detroying the forests, and worst of all, producing not just the wonderful products mankind is so proud of, but also the bi-product-POLLUTION. If everyone held their breath for a minute they would see just how precious oxygen is to us. I highly recommend this book to everyone adult, child, and every industry known to man.”
FINALLY, 19 years after it was first published in paperback, When The Trees Held Their Breath, is now available in its originally planned format, with the originally intended text and haunting black and white photographs in ebook format.
In celebration, it will be free all this weekend, I hope you enjoy it, and it inspires you into action!
A short, environmental book I wrote back in 1986 when I was just 16 years old. Here’s what some kind people said about the paperback, which had an extended ‘happy’ ending:
“An excellent book for young readers to be introduced to the basic concept of environmental issues – the negative impacts mankind has had, and the role that trees have as oxygen providers. The accompanying artwork brings the simple message to life.”
Dave Taub, member National Union of Journalists
“A breath of fresh air for readers–adults and children alike will hear the call about environmental issues in a charming and easily accessible book. Mr. Donnelly has a gift for keeping the reader rapt in his tale. An important book and a must read, then share it with everyone you know!”
Alison Bessesdotter, artist
“What a wake up and smell the coffee kind of book. Not only is it well written, but it makes you stop and THINK. This book, though it appears to be small, is packed with a punch!“
“Man is known for technologically advancing his world and not giving a damn what the consequences may be. In his debut illustrated children’s novel, “When the Trees Held Their Breath,” Anthony James Donnelly presents the future landscape of a dying world and the drastic measures nature takes in seeing to its survival.”