The Secret Sanctuary

On their way to school, three children from the Himalayan village of Kolti, wander off the path and find themselves in a magical, mysterious forest. They quickly realize that the birds and animals are unaware of their presence, which allows them to observe wildlife close up and undisturbed. An eccentric naturalist, Dr. Mukherjee, arrives on the scene and helps them identify and understand the natural history of this secret sanctuary. Set in the Jabarkhet Nature Reserve, near Mussoorie, this book will delight and inspire younger readers with a message of conservation.


The Secret Sanctuary is an eerie wildlife adventure tale that takes us through a magical forest in Flag Hill, Mussoorie… An easy read, this short and well-written work keeps its readers hooked till thevery end. The tone of the book and narrative style is so simple and easy going that children will relate to it without effort. The book is also about the preservation of nature and how as humans we tend to overlook and ignore it.

Nida Afrin, Hindustan Times

Writing about nature and conservation is not without its challenges, in particular, when it is meant for a young audience, but Alter does a fine job of it. There are some beautiful descriptions of nature and each of the trees and animals are introduced with their scientific names. Often, implies Alter, we tend to overlook the world around us, and the only way it can manifest itself in front of us is when we look at it with new eyes. This book will certainly help readers do so.

Paromita Chakrabarti, The Indian Express

The Secret Sanctuary tells a captivating story about the importance of conservation and is filled with magic and adventure and fascinating information about wildlife and natural history.

The Asian Age, PTI

Classified as children’s literature, Stephen Alter’s latest book, The Secret Sanctuary is an engrossing read. Not just for kids, but for elders as well, as they will identify and be able to relate to several elements in the tale.

S. Ravi, The Hindu

From the very first chapter, the reader is transported into a magical world of adventure. Easy, free-flowing prose and an unfolding quest makes this story captivating. You want to finish the book in just one sitting from cover to cover. Writing from personal experience and observation, the author brings alive the flora and fauna of these first foothills of the Himalayas where he grew up.

Tania Saili, The Times of India