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When a young boy's beloved plum tree falls in a storm, he feels like he's lost both a friend and a connection to his old home.
A young boy, recently arrived from Korea, finds a glorious plum tree in his new backyard. It reminds him of a tree his family had back home, and he names it Plumee for the deep purple plums on its branches.
Whenever the boy is homesick, he knows he can take shelter in Plumee's tall branches. And when a storm brings the old tree down, he and his friends have all kinds of adventures on its branches, as it becomes a dragon, a treehouse, and a ship in their imaginations.
But soon it's time to say goodbye when the remains of the tree are taken away. Before long, a new plum tree is planted, new blossoms bloom, and a new friendship takes root.
A South Korean immigrant herself, Hope Lim brings her perspective on the struggle for child immigrants to feel at home to bear through spare, poetic text, perfectly matched by soft, lyrical illustrations by Korean artist Il Sung Na.
★ Transcending time and place, this gentle book will take root in many hearts. --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ Empathic vulnerability marks every page of Lim's story . . . Lim and Na's poignantly affecting collaboration is a reassuring homage to resilient adaptation, familial support and unexpectedly nurturing friendships, ensuring My Tree will take root in hearts of all ages. --Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
Lim's comforting story speaks to the importance of nature in creating a sense of well-being and belonging. . . . Na's digital artwork features a springlike palette, favoring shades of plum, pink, and blue. The full-bleed spreads are richly hued, except for those depicting the boy's imagination, which turn pastel. A good choice for one-on-one sharing or for Earth Day story hours. --Booklist
Na (That's My Carrot) gives this quiet story heft and drama with bold, crisped-edged forms; saturated hues; and feathery details. The spreads flow into each other, carrying much of the story's emotional weight. Lim, meanwhile, crafts this story with a tree-scale sense of time, paying homage to an arboreal marker of the past and offering hope that stretches out into the future. --Publishers Weekly
Themes of resilience, hope, and vulnerability run through Lim's simple and poetic text. Na's digital illustrations help build empathy. . . . Gentle symbolism employed throughout creates opportunities for discussion of change, connection, and adaptation. -- The Horn Book
The lyrical text of this book would make for an enchanting readaloud, and it pairs well with Na's dreamy digital art with its scratchy textures and off-color palette, depicting the plum tree with gorgeous pink wood and dotting purples and yellows into nature to great effect. While this story is likely to resonate particularly well with immigrant viewers, any kid experiencing big change will relate to the boy reaching out for something familiar. --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Colorful digital illustrations are filled with small details and reveal the massive tree and the child's love for it. This tale of a boy's devotion and regard for the natural world is quietly endearing, and the young protagonist will be a comfort to others who have said goodbye to home. --School Library Journal
Reading age: 4-8 years
Dimensions: 22.33 x 28.68 cm
Publisher: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House
Hope Lim is a children's book author from South Korea who now lives in San Francisco with her family. She majored in English Literature and earned a Master's degree in Conference Interpretation. Her debut picture book, I Am a Bird is was published with Candlewick in February 2021.
Il Sung Na also grew up in Korea and now lives in Kansas City, where he teaches illustration. In 2001, he moved to London to pursue a BFA in illustration and animation at Kingston University, where he discovered a passion for children's books. His books include Welcome Home Bear: A Book of Animal Habitats, A Book of Sleep, and Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons.