Something cool happened today. I was walking my dog, Phineas, in Riverside Park, and I started to look at the trees differently than I ever have before. Now, I’ve been to this park hundreds of time. Maybe even thousands. But after studying trees for my biomimicry grad program, the trees seemed to speak to me in a different way than they ever have before. I could identify the trees, and see how they protect themselves. I could sense that they were in their deep sleep mode for the winter, and I let their peace wash over me, too. We are living in stressful times in this country right now, and today I am immensely grateful for the example and wisdom of these trees. Sometimes what we need to do most is rest. When in doubt, go outside.
Sometimes as a writer, what I need is a good long walk in the sun, a nap in the grass, and sniff of some beautiful pink flowers on a tree. Life in New York City can be challenging on many levels and yet I wouldn’t live anywhere else. The beauty and wildlife of Central Park is a sanctuary for me. I come here every day with my dog, Phineas. In all seasons, in all weather. This park makes New York more than a city. It makes it a home. And I’m so grateful for it and the many people who care for it in so many ways.
A story of acceptance and community told from the perspective of a wise 216-year-old northern red oak tree named Red, I read the book Wishtree in one delicious (or is it deciduous) sitting. I laughed, I cried, and I was happy / sad when it was over. This is the book the world needs now more than ever. Pun-filled tree humor provides the laughter than opens the way to understanding that diversity is the key to a healthy, thriving society. Nature knows that. Nature has always known that. And it’s time for us to embrace it, too.
A new Muslim family moves into the neighborhood and faces the ugliest side of human nature. The power of friendship, bravery, and history are woven together in this tale, part magic, part science, and all love. In Applegate’s own words, there is a special kind of power in being able to stand tall and reach deep in all circumstances. Leave it to children’s literature to teach us (adults and children alike) to be the very best people we can be.