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This Very Tree: A Story of Resilience, Community, and 9/11

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A deeply moving portrait of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin. In 1973, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided a home for birds and shade for people looking for a place to rest, along with the A deeply moving portrait of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin. In 1973, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided a home for birds and shade for people looking for a place to rest, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree's home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived. Dubbed the "Survivor Tree," it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And in the thoughtful care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Callery pear was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort...and also hope. This is the story of that tree--and of a nation in recovery. Told from the tree's perspective, This Very Tree is a touching tribute to first responders, the resilience of America, and the restorative power of community.


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A deeply moving portrait of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin. In 1973, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided a home for birds and shade for people looking for a place to rest, along with the A deeply moving portrait of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks on September 11, from Eisner Award-nominated author-illustrator Sean Rubin. In 1973, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided a home for birds and shade for people looking for a place to rest, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree's home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived. Dubbed the "Survivor Tree," it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And in the thoughtful care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Callery pear was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort...and also hope. This is the story of that tree--and of a nation in recovery. Told from the tree's perspective, This Very Tree is a touching tribute to first responders, the resilience of America, and the restorative power of community.

30 review for This Very Tree: A Story of Resilience, Community, and 9/11

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa D

    What a beautiful book & an amazing story that is tribute to the first responders after 911 or September 11. This book is very inspiring ! Highly recommended! This book should win awards!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zan Porter

    In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree's home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived. Dubbed the "Survivor Tree," it was m In the 1970s, nestled between the newly completed Twin Towers in New York City, a Callery pear tree was planted. Over the years, the tree provided shade for people looking for a place to rest and a home for birds, along with the first blooms of spring. On September 11, 2001, everything changed. The tree's home was destroyed, and it was buried under the rubble. But a month after tragedy struck, a shocking discovery was made at Ground Zero: the tree had survived. Dubbed the "Survivor Tree," it was moved to the Bronx to recover. And in the thoughtful care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Callery Pear was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort...and also hope. This is the story of that tree--and of a nation in recovery. Told from the tree's perspective,This Very Tree is a touching tribute to first responders, the resilience of America, and the restorative power of community.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Correct subtitle: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth What a beautiful book. It tells the story of a tree that stood between the Twin Towers. The genius in this is that it tells the story from the *point of view* of the tree. How very touching and incredibly moving. There is an immediacy and an emotional impact that would not be possible otherwise. We really *feel* for this tree. It has likes and dislikes, fears and concerns, and sadness. It has gone through a lot. And while it likes the new Correct subtitle: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth What a beautiful book. It tells the story of a tree that stood between the Twin Towers. The genius in this is that it tells the story from the *point of view* of the tree. How very touching and incredibly moving. There is an immediacy and an emotional impact that would not be possible otherwise. We really *feel* for this tree. It has likes and dislikes, fears and concerns, and sadness. It has gone through a lot. And while it likes the new place it was taken to in order to heal, it feels good to return home (albeit with some trepidation and anxiety). It is a soft message of hope, just as the blooms on it every spring have always been. But beyond that, this book has everything. Everything, including a beautiful story, told in simple language, gorgeous full color illustrations, and a short section on the history of 9/11, from the perfect epigraph by E.B. White to the author's own touching note about his relationship to New York City and the Twin Towers. A wonderful addition to the body of work that has to do with the tragedy of 9/11 and especially a beautiful addition to children's literature on that subject. I won a copy of this book from the publisher in a giveaway on Instagram.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    So like...I love it as a cute 20th anniversary book, but.... That being said, it does not actually explain 9/11/2001. It alludes to it so if you know, you know. If you don't know, you will have to ask. The only written explanation given is "It was an ordinary morning. Until it wasn't." This allows for unique discussion between parent and child but also...puts the entire onus of explaining terrorism on the parent. It would be nice if the language was there. If I know Goodreads then I know someone So like...I love it as a cute 20th anniversary book, but.... That being said, it does not actually explain 9/11/2001. It alludes to it so if you know, you know. If you don't know, you will have to ask. The only written explanation given is "It was an ordinary morning. Until it wasn't." This allows for unique discussion between parent and child but also...puts the entire onus of explaining terrorism on the parent. It would be nice if the language was there. If I know Goodreads then I know someone is about to comment and tell me how much of an idiot I am for this review SO: Maybe for millennials and older generations it was such a dramatic & painful day that it needs no explanation. We all remember it and could describe where we were when we heard the news. However, as a children's librarian who works with children born in the 2010s & 2020s for 40 hours a week 52 weeks a year, I can assure you there are plenty of kids ages 0-10 years old who don't really get 9/11 and are sort of pretending to go along with it when it gets brought up by their parents so they don't feel left out. If you need a historical example, think about how the WW2 Generation felt about Pearl Harbor. Now ask 10 Gen Z people what date Japan attacked the United States. A day that will live in infamy....that is until it starts to run out of living memory. This book is beautiful and adorable but that was just something I thought of while reading it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    When showing this book to my sister, she asked, "How do you teach children about that day?" This book, my friends, is the answer. When showing this book to my sister, she asked, "How do you teach children about that day?" This book, my friends, is the answer.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Silvis Library

    I didn't expect to get emotional over a tree. The use of this tree that stood and stands again where the twin towers fell to teach children about the emotional impact of 9/11 was just the right balance of gentle and serious; somber but hopeful. ~Shay I didn't expect to get emotional over a tree. The use of this tree that stood and stands again where the twin towers fell to teach children about the emotional impact of 9/11 was just the right balance of gentle and serious; somber but hopeful. ~Shay

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    A beautiful book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    Great story told from the tree's point of view. I will be adding a copy to my 4th grade classroom! Great story told from the tree's point of view. I will be adding a copy to my 4th grade classroom!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    This book is simple and beautiful. Be sure to read the afterword about the healing of the tree, and I dare you not to cry when they mention that seedlings from this tree are "sent all over the world to communities suffering from recent tragedies." This book is simple and beautiful. Be sure to read the afterword about the healing of the tree, and I dare you not to cry when they mention that seedlings from this tree are "sent all over the world to communities suffering from recent tragedies."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Howard

    A great story to help little children understand the events of 9/11. I liked the illustrations too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kelley

    What a heartbreakingly beautiful book. The words and illustrations are just gorgeous. Be sure to have a tissue handy when you read this story. I would share this with older children, as well as adults.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    A story of trauma, grief, and recovery, beautifully told and illustrated. A post-9/11 resilience story, and so much more. Backmatter with an author's note and extra detail about the Survivor Tree, the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and history of the World Trade Center, and note about the accuracy of the illustrations add context and interest. A few pages are so stunningly illustrated they bring tears to the eye. This is a strong addition to any elementary library or collection of 9/11 pic A story of trauma, grief, and recovery, beautifully told and illustrated. A post-9/11 resilience story, and so much more. Backmatter with an author's note and extra detail about the Survivor Tree, the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and history of the World Trade Center, and note about the accuracy of the illustrations add context and interest. A few pages are so stunningly illustrated they bring tears to the eye. This is a strong addition to any elementary library or collection of 9/11 picture books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Grab your tissues for this one. This beautiful story of the tree that survived the fall of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 will take your breath away and bring tears to your eyes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Lovejoy

    What an amazing story!!!--true story! It is a book everyone will want to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I did not know the story of the Survivor Tree from 9/11 until I read this book. The author has done a wonderful job telling the actual story of the tree while creating a way for children to work through grief about 9/11 or just grief in general. I think this would be a great book to read during the first month of school this year (2021) because many children are going through a type of grief, or sadly actual grief, around the COVID virus. We need to show them that together we can support each ot I did not know the story of the Survivor Tree from 9/11 until I read this book. The author has done a wonderful job telling the actual story of the tree while creating a way for children to work through grief about 9/11 or just grief in general. I think this would be a great book to read during the first month of school this year (2021) because many children are going through a type of grief, or sadly actual grief, around the COVID virus. We need to show them that together we can support each other and recover but still acknowledge that memories and hurt might still be a part of the lives that we face. We don't come out of tragedy exactly the same but we can survive and appreciate who we are now.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    A poignant narrative of the Twin Towers and the World Trade Center, the tragedy of 9/11, and the survival of the plaza's Callery pear tree from the imagined perspective of the tree. When two planes crashed into the skyscrapers, it was buried in the midst of 1.8 million tons of wreckage. Found a month later with its roots snapped and branches burned and broken, it was given to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in hopes that it could be healed. Against all odds, the tree survive A poignant narrative of the Twin Towers and the World Trade Center, the tragedy of 9/11, and the survival of the plaza's Callery pear tree from the imagined perspective of the tree. When two planes crashed into the skyscrapers, it was buried in the midst of 1.8 million tons of wreckage. Found a month later with its roots snapped and branches burned and broken, it was given to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in hopes that it could be healed. Against all odds, the tree survived and was incorporated into the 9/11 Memorial. The main body of text tells the tree's story, while an appended author's note and more information are included in the backmatter.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This short children’s book was a beautiful yet heartbreaking story . This book centered on a tree that was planted at Ground Zero that was harmed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The author used the tree as a sign of resiliency that New Yorkers possessed in the wake of 9/11 I truly believe everyone should read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    MJ

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sean Rubin is the author who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. "Sometimes, when a shadow passed overhead, I thought about what had happened. But being surrounded by the other trees made me feel stronger. Some days, I even felt strong enough to do my old job again. "Between the trees, they saved three empty spaces. Two spaces remained where the towers once stood. They would stay empty forever, because nothing can fill them." I imagine this is how many people after the death of someone close to t Sean Rubin is the author who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. "Sometimes, when a shadow passed overhead, I thought about what had happened. But being surrounded by the other trees made me feel stronger. Some days, I even felt strong enough to do my old job again. "Between the trees, they saved three empty spaces. Two spaces remained where the towers once stood. They would stay empty forever, because nothing can fill them." I imagine this is how many people after the death of someone close to them. This book would be good to read to children who've gone through any kind of trauma. It shows how we heal a bit at a time. "Anyone who felt a shadow overhead could stand under my leaves and find peace. Anyone who was hurt could see how my branches had healed and find hope. In my plaza, filled with so many trees, I am still the first to blossom." Album on my cell under 2021 This Very Tree.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maeve

    A tree, planted in the plaza beneath the Twin Towers, recounts its experiences of 9/11. When it was discovered-severely damaged-beneath the rubble, it was sent to recover and be rehabilitated in a nursery. After the tree (named the Survivor Tree) had recovered, it was returned to the 9/11 Memorial, where it continues to provide shade and hope to the people of New York City. An absolutely beautiful story about resilience and survival. The focus on the tree made it approachable for a younger audien A tree, planted in the plaza beneath the Twin Towers, recounts its experiences of 9/11. When it was discovered-severely damaged-beneath the rubble, it was sent to recover and be rehabilitated in a nursery. After the tree (named the Survivor Tree) had recovered, it was returned to the 9/11 Memorial, where it continues to provide shade and hope to the people of New York City. An absolutely beautiful story about resilience and survival. The focus on the tree made it approachable for a younger audience; but will require parents to explain the events to children. Information on the terrorist attacks is included in the backmatter.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Krissy Neddo

    Love illustrations. Well done. However, I am not sure the kids at my elementary school are as knowledgeable about what really happened to understand without some presets. So hard to explain without alarming them. I may read this to fifth grade as I read Fireboat (John J Harvey) in 4th grade and The Man Between the Towers in 3rd.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    What a remarkable true story to share with littles about 9/11.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Awesome story. I had never heard of the tree that survived 9/11. It is a wonderful book of trauma and recovery. Highly recommend!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Thompson

    3.5 stars. I appreciated the information and illustrations. I'm not much into emotive first person narratives by inanimate objects. I would have preferred a third person narration. 3.5 stars. I appreciated the information and illustrations. I'm not much into emotive first person narratives by inanimate objects. I would have preferred a third person narration.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ms Threlkeld

    A beautiful tribute to the people who perished on 9/11 and a reminder to push past fear and strive for growth.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cindy H.

    A lovely illustrated book aimed for school children. The miracle surrounding a survivor tree from the September 11, World Trade Center tragedy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nitza Campos

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mecca

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Hunter

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