Dear Baobab ISBN: 9781897187913
Published by Second Story Press, 2011
Maiko has had a sad beginning in life. His parents have died in Africa, and he has come to live with his Aunt Ajia and Uncle Peter in a city in Canada. In his African village, he used to play with the other children around a 2000 year old baobab tree, and because he misses his home (and is being teased at school), he has 'befriended' a small spruce tree outside his new home. He tells the little tree all about his old home and his friends, and because the tree is the same age as he is, 7, he says, 'Hello, tree, same age as me.' But when the tree is threatened because it is growing too close to the house, Maiko takes action and hides the saw. It is only when his aunt and uncle announce that the little tree will be their Christmas tree, that they realise how much the tree means to Maiko. All his sadness then comes out, and he tells them how he misses his home and about the teasing at school. He has made a friend, though, Li, and together they experience the strange and wonderful sensation of snow in a Canadian winter and cookies at Christmas. On his birthday, the little tree is transplanted to the Birthplace Forest, where people plant trees on their birthdays, and Maiko will be able to visit his tree always. This is a moving and delightful story of a child who has had to make enormous changes in his life. Beautifully - even lyrically - written, it also has evocative and warmly human illustrations. A lovely book. Available from Amazon, good bookshops, and from the distributor in this country: email firstname.lastname@example.org (Tel: 01524 68765).