In Aubin’s debut picture book inspired by a true story, the 9/11 Survivor Tree is nursed back to life.
A badly damaged Callery pear tree is found in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Although she is scared, the tree is taken to a nursery where a city parks worker named Richie treats her with great care. As the tree recuperates, she recalls her experiences when she stood tall in New York City—watching ice skaters in the plaza during winter and seeing the budding romance of two people who ate lunch under her leaves. The tree’s resilience gives hope to those who are sad, including a New York City firefighter who thanks her for surviving. When the tree recovers, Richie tells her that she will return to New York City as part of the 9/11 memorial. She is introduced in a special ceremony and dubbed the “9/11 Survivor Tree.” The author anthropomorphizes the tree, giving the story an intimate, personal tone. The descriptions often illuminate the tree’s emotions during her healing process. Aubin writes: “As they gently tamped the soft, rich soil around her roots, the tree felt as if she were being wrapped in a warm blanket and started to feel a little safer.” Longer and denser than most picture books, this is a better pick for older readers. Harrington’s colorful, watercolor illustrations add a dreamy quality to the story. All profits from the sale of this book are donated to charity.
A well-constructed tale with a worthy premise.