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Dalai Lama book on compassionate revolution for protecting our planet, its inhabitants set for release

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(, Jan23’23) – An illustrated book based on the Dalai Lama’s simple but profound observation that people come and go and regimes change, but we have only one planet to call home, and we must care for it and protect it, is set for release on Jan 24, after being three years in the works.

The 144-page book, called “Heart to Heart: A Conversation on Love and Hope for Our Precious Planet,” is a compilation of words of the Dalai Lama with illustrations by cartoonist Patrick McDonnell. The work is being referred to as a compassionate revolution for protecting our planet and its inhabitants.

It was a chance discussion during a safari under a starry evening in Botswana, Africa, in 2019, which gave rise to the launch of this unlikely writing project that teamed the creator of the Mutts comic strip with the Dalai Lama and a prominent couple in La Jolla (County of San Diego, California), noted a Jan 21 column.

The Dalai Lama’s observation was brought up by Pam Cesak, wife of former “Jeff and Jer” radio personality Jerry Cesak and a board member of Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).  It prompted Karen O’Connell, wife and business manager of Patrick, to suggest that they collaborate with the Dalai Lama on a project.

The publisher is HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins dedicated to inspirational books, with proceeds going to ICT, a Tibet advocacy group.

According to Pam, it is the first project like this in which His Holiness has ever been depicted as an illustration.

The quotes have been sourced from books, speeches, public appearance videos and other works of the Dalai Lama that bear on the need to care for and show concern for the planet, environment, climate change and animals.

The illustrations star an inquisitive giant panda troubled by changes in the world. The panda decides to travel to Dharamshala to seek the advice and wisdom of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

“I was nervous about doing the project, but honored and humbled,” the column quotes McDonnell as saying. He has described the book’s words as simple yet powerful and that adding illustrations makes readers slow down and magnifies the effect of the words.

Famed primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall, who previously collaborated with McDonnell on a children’s book about her childhood, “Me … Jane,” has written a note calling “Heart to Heart” a “blueprint for how we should live, with love, compassion — and humor.”

And Hollywood star Richard Gere, chair of the ICT board since 1995, has written a letter, cautioning, “Our time may be running out. This delightful book will help us reorient our priorities and wake us up to our high purpose.”

The column notes that although based on illustrations, “Heart to Heart” is not a children’s book.

Rather, “it reaches people of all ages with a simple, positive message of an individual taking action on the small things you can do to save our planet,” Cesak has said.

Jerry Cesak has said, “Patrick’s illustrations and the Dalai Lama’s words are so powerful the book made me cry.”

McDonnell hopes to have his first face-to-face meeting with the Dalai Lama, along with his wife and the Cesaks, later this April at his exile home in Dharamshala, India.


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