As part of my B. Ed I wrote a children’s story. I chose to rewrite Shel Silverstein’s classic, The Giving Tree. I always felt this touching story was a little too sad. Moreover, I felt it missed the opportunity to impart an important perspective; the messages of stewardship and symbiosis, central to First Nations and Aboriginal cultures the world over.
This is the message I hope this book can share with young people. As a Canadian of Metis heritage, I feel it is an important message. There are other parts of First Nations culture touched upon as well. I have taken literary license. Tobacco & smudging are sacred rites and meant to show respect. Flutes & love songs are also a part of many cultures as are canoes and lodge poles.
This story offers a different perspective on the friendship that can exist between human & nature. This re-imagining offers a view of interdependence and encourages us to be more thoughtful in their interactions with our living home.
It has been particularly rewarding to use this book as a comparative literature study with my students over the years when read in contrast to Mr. Silverstein’s book as well.
I was given an ARC of the book in exchange of an honest review. My views are unbiased and in no way influenced by the author or publisher.
Having read Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, during my library read aloud sessions, I was skeptical about this book. Many authors have tried to do retelling and failed horribly. To chose this book was a risk as Shel's book is one of my favorites. Nevertheless, I chose the book by Sean as I felt from the synopsis that he was trying to bring a new twist to the story.
We are all aware about how the story goes in The Giving Tree, where the tree selflessly keeps giving to a boy never expecting anything in return. The boy here took from the tree and was selfish in his intention. The Giving Tree spoke about unconditional love. But Sean has brought a beautiful retelling here in The Sharing Tree. The title itself gives a happy feel unlike The Giving Tree, where pain is evident in giving when there is no love in return. Whereas in Sean's book, even though the boy takes from the tree, he acknowledges the gifts and shows appreciation towards the tree.
There are many life lessons that Sean has shared through his retelling. The first is the power of upliftment. When the boy first meets the tree, he is sad because he is bullied and mocked due to his size. His friendship with the tree makes him realize that self worth is not based on size or other parameters. The tree as a true friend lends him a ear and helps build confidence. A beautiful lesson on uplifting people around us who are having bad days.
The boy always acknowledges the gift from the tree and always offers a small token of appreciation in return. This is true in real life too, a small appreciation or acknowledgement goes a long way. The tree also teaches us the lesson of pausing in our busy lives. Since children and old people pause to observe the beauty around them, they are able to connect to the self within and the nature.
This book speaks most of empathy and teaches us to be mindful in our relationships and friendships. Since relationship is not one sided and we should not always give or always take. There should be two way bridge of giving and taking. The book also revolves around the theme of nature and how there is an interdependent relationship between humans and nature. Ignoring which results in destruction which cannot be reverted to previous state.
There are some editing issues in between which makes reading halt, otherwise its wholesome treat for kids to enjoy and learn at the same time.
I am open to trying new things. Being a librarian reading keeps me alive and helps me live new lives each time I read.