Overview

The Hugging Tree tells the story of a little tree growing all alone on a cliff, by a vast and mighty sea. Through thundering storms and the cold of winter, the tree holds fast. Sustained by the natural world and the kindness and compassion of one little boy, eventually the tree grows until it can hold and shelter others.

The resilience of the Hugging Tree calls to mind the potential in all of us: to thrive, despite times of struggle and difficulty. To nurture the little spark of hope and resolve. To dream and to grow, just where we are.

A Note to Parents and Caregivers by Elizabeth McCallum, PhD, provides more information about resilience, and guidelines for building resilience in children.

About the Author

Jill Neimark is an author of fiction and nonfiction, an award-winning science journalist and essayist, and former features editor at Psychology Today magazine. Her credits include the middle-grade novels The Secret Spiral and The Golden Rectangle, the adult novel Bloodsong, which was a Book of the Month Club selection and published in five countries, and the adult nonfiction title Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving (coauthored with bioethicist Stephen Post, PhD). It was awarded the Kama Prize in Medical Humanities by World Literacy Canada in 2008. This is her third picture book for Magination Press.

About the Illustrator

Nicole Wong is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her illustrations have been featured in several children's books, including No Monkeys, No Chocolate and Ferry Tail. Nicole lives with her husband, daughter, and their dogs and cat in Massachusetts.

Reviews & Awards
  • Finalist, 2015 Green Earth Book Awards

A gentle reminder that "storms will come and storms will go."
Plant Talk

Wow. This is a powerful story that I can see being used at many levels. It is the story of a tree, growing alone on a cliff. The tree is faced with many challenges including thunder storms, freezing winters and vast, crashing waves, but the kindness and compassion of one little boy and protected by the natural world, the tree grows and eventually becomes a shelter for others. The entire story could be seen as a metaphor for the hope and resilience we can show when faced with life's struggles. A great book for inferring and transform!
—Reading Power Gear

A tree precariously growing on a cliff-side serves as a metaphor for resilience under trying circumstances. "There's hardly any dirt for me./No forest breeze, no birds, no bees./ But I will do the best I can/ to make this rock my home," says the tree, which befriends the rolling sea, birds, moon, and sun as it grows. Wong's delicate artwork touchingly conveys the tree's lonesome and perilous circumstances, and after a storm tears away the tree's roots, a boy brings it soil, enabling it to thrive and suggesting that resilience doesn't necessarily mean absolute independence. Organized into verselike passages…with rhyme schemes emerging then being abandoned, but the tree's strength and transformation should have emotional impact for sensitive readers.
Publisher's Weekly

The Hugging Tree is an inspiring and captivating story…Jill Niemark's text is poetic and rhythmic with beautiful imagery. Nicole Wong's illustrations are exquisite and evoke the emotion and joy in the story…It is all about encouraging children to talk about the challenges they face (i.e. bullying, disappointments, loss, etc.) and to give them tools to cope.
Children's Books Heal