Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear Baobab- Cheryl Foggo

Dear Baobab
Cheryl Foggo

Illustrated by Qin Link
Second Story Press

Seven year old Maiko must leave his African village and beloved Baobab trees to go live with his Aunt and Uncle in North America. Feeling connected with the 2000 year old, grounded tree, Maiko feels lost and uprooted in his new surroundings. Uprooted and moved unlike the Baobab tree he loves.

Now surrounded by spruce trees, Maiko is trying to fit into his new school and new home. One little spruce tree that is also 7 years old that Maiko calls "tree, same age as me", comforts him as he hears the wind sing through its leaves.
The little spruce tree is growing too close to the foundation of the house and Uncle Peter plans on cutting it down, not realizing how special it has become to Maiko.
Maiko is able to find the courage to tell Uncle Peter and a new plan for the tree is devised.
Change is hard on anyone but for such a young one to loose his parents and move to a completely different culture and way of life is exceptionally hard.

I feel many children will relate to Maiko feeling out of place and being moved from what he knows and love. In our very transient society it isn't uncommon for children to move several times in their young lives.

I have always had a fascination with the Baobab trees and this book illustrates and describes them so well. I loved how Maiko could feel connected and comforted by the big tree and had to transfer that love to another and through that he was able to realize that "We can't always grow where we are planted. But we still can grow somewhere else".

Loved the original concept with the Baobab tree, and the universal concept of children having to move and try to fit in.
Beautiful illustrations by Qin Leng who was born in Shanghai, China before moving to Montreal.

Cheryl Fogo is a journalist, screenwriter, poet and playwright. She is the author of two books for young adults. This is her first picture book. Cheryl has a particular interest in history of Black pioneers on the prairies. She live in Calgary.

I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.

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