Based on the true story of Emma Pagel who donated a dead robin to the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1905. The story has been fictionalized to make it into a play, adding imaginary characters and events. The purpose of the play is purely educational-sensitization towards our beautiful biodiversity and how significant it is.
This is the first time Deepa has ventured into writing for children. For this, she would thank the former principal of the college she teaches in, the late Dr. Rakesh Trivedi, also an environmentalist and Zoologist, who introduced her to the story of Emma Pagel. It was in the form of an article he gave her to read, and suggested that the story be used to instill environmental ethics in children.
She did write a skit then (some fifteen years back). Unfortunately, Dr. Trivedi passed away suddenly, and the project was shelved, until recently, when she came across the hand-written script of the skit based on the story of Emma’s robin.
She worked on it for several days, editing and restructuring it here and there. She has tried to retain the original intent of passing on the message of respecting the rich biodiversity around us, already threatened in many ways, and preserving it.
Why she did not change the setting or characters to suit the Indian scenario? She felt the essence of the story is its soul and keeping it intact would mean being just to the story of this little girl. The real purpose of the play is to have it enacted in schools, changing the characters and setting as per the requirements. Probably small actions and efforts can help young learners imbibe the importance of biodiversity and history.
She truly appreciate the efforts of the staff of the museum, Daniel Lee, Local History Librarian at the Milwaukee Public Library, Ruth King, the librarian for MPM, and Deborah Heinzmann, Director of Visitor Services at MPM.
It was Deborah who had received my initial E-mail and she carried forward her request and connected her to Daniel and subsequently to Ruth. They went out of their way to look for the details of Emma Pagel’s bird and the article related to her contribution that was published in The Milwaukee Journal in June 1983.
We have cited the original article in this book. She hopes the book fulfills its purpose and children find it a joy to read. Meantime, happy reading!