Friday, 17 August 2012

Book Launch: The Wattle Tree

Last night Shearer's was privileged to host the launch of The Wattle Tree, a beautiful picture book on bereavement written by John Bell and illustrated by Ben Wood. The Wattle Tree was launched Margaret Hamilton, who has worked in children's books all her life and currently runs Pinerolo, a centre for children's books at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.

John and Ben are young guys working with kids in Sydney. Both John and Ben recently lost grandparents they loved. John used to spend many happy hours with his grandfather who had an enormous frangipani tree in his front garden. He feels that trees give you hope and fond memories and so decided to write a story around a tree.
The Wattle Tree does work as a way to help kids and adults deal with the grieving process. The book is set over the course of a few months, Molly makes repeated trips to a wattle tree near her house. At first her visits are to escape the sadness in the house as her Mum is locked inside her own grief.
Gradually Molly draws strength from her visits and invites Mum to share in the experience so they can keep memories of Gran alive.

So many books for kids about the death of a loved one are animal based and it is wonderful to see a story involving people. The language is beautiful and is not patronizing or 'dumbed down' for younger readers. You can hear Molly’s voice as a little girl not sure of how she is meant to feel and the illustrations accompany the text perfectly and can feel the wind blowing.

Everyone deals differently with bereavement and from the story we see how Mum and Molly approach the situation from two angles and ultimately come together to help each other and look to the future.

The Wattle Tree
By John Bell illustrated by Ben Wood
Published by Lothian Books
Hardback - $28.99
- Rachel & Barbara

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