Title: The Red Tree
Author: Shaun Tan
Illustrated by: Shaun Tan
Publisher: Simply Read (March 1, 2003)
The Lothian Books website has a great resourse on “The Red Tree” written by Nancy Mortimer, you can download it from here: The Red Tree – Teachers Notes
Themes: Depression, Hope, The Darkness, Light, SELF
Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to… An anonymous child awakes to find blackened leaves falling from her bedroom ceiling, threatening to quietly overwhelm her.
She wanders down a street overshadowed by a huge lifeless fish hat floats above her, imagines herself trapped in a bottle washed up on a forgotten shore, lost in a strange landscape, caught between towering ships about to collide or being on stage before an audience, not knowing what she’s supposed to do. Just as it seems all hope is lost, the girl returns to her bedroom to find a tiny red seedling growing in the middle of the floor, which, once noticed, becomes a vivid red tree that fills the room with warm light.
Shaun Tan is one of my favourite illustrators of children’s books, the way he illustrates opens an entirely new world for me and this book… this book is one of my favourites.
This is a great story to engage young and old people in discussion about grief, stress, hope and depression, about their emotions, giving them a way to use language and images to explain their feelings..
The illustrations out our feelings into images, we can work from the point of view that the story tells us this is how we feel and then look at the image or see how the image interacts with us…
This story works on so many levels…
Stunning and beautiful this book will leave you breathless, a timeless classic that will haunt and inspire you every time that you return to it.