Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo and illustrated by Qin Leng (Second Story Press, 2011) tells the story of young Maiko, who has recently moved to a city from his home in Africa. He missed his 2,000-year-old tree but finds comfort in a small spruce tree in front of his home. Maiko must deal with being away from the tree and landscapes that he loves at the same time that he faces teasing in school.
Maiko is able to make friends and move on, despite his homesickness. Although each page contains a bit too much text for the young child, older children will appreciate Maiko’s story of coming to find his place in a new country far different from his own. The ultimate lesson of “grow where you are planted” may be cliché, but it works in this story since Maiko learns that it’s okay if we have to replanted sometimes. Dear Baobab is a hopeful story.
Note: I was provided a review copy of this book for consideration for the Cybils awards.