I got the most wonderful present in the mail today – Arbor Day Square – written by my good friend Kathryn Galbraith. We met more than 30 years ago when we both lived in NYC and were taking a writing class at the New School of Social Research. Kathryn and I both left the city at about the same time, but she left for the State of Washington where she went on to write beautiful books for children.
Obviously I was thrilled to see her new book, Arbor Day Square, because it is about how important trees are to a community as well as love of family and a family history. Katie and Papa are among the new settlers in a prairie town that we see grow until the townspeople recognize they have no trees:
“There are no trees on the prairie.
No trees for climbing.
Or for shade.
No trees for fruit or warm winter fires.
No trees for birds. Or for beauty.”
That recognition is the first step to the first Arbor Day Tree Planting in that community, a celebration that continues every year. Papa turns into a grandpa, and Katie a mama with a child of her own.
Kathryn’s books always tell gentle stories with charm and humor. I love Boo, Bunny! (illustrated by Jeff Mack) that I sent to my two Great-granddaughters last Halloween, and Traveling Babies (illustrated by Jane Dippold) which I bought for the Buckland Library as well as for gifts for family children.
Here in Heath trees are important for sugaring, and for firewood, as well as for birds, and shade. And for beauty. Thank you Kathryn for this beautiful story, and your timing is perfect. Here in Massachusetts Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April, so I have enough time to get a tree to plant on that day. I think it will be a witch hazel named Diane – for family love, spring bloom, and beauty at every season