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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Loneliness and grief are difficult to bear – especially alone. Gloria and her daddy are sad. They feel grief, a painful sadness at the loss of Gloria’s Mommy. A maple tree in the back corner of a garden nursery feels loneliness, its imperfectly shaped leaves making the other trees reject it and the customers avoid it. But not Gloria and Daddy. They see something special in the maple tree. They see hope, a connection to the loved one they lost. And so they call the tree Hope and take it home with them. As the tree grows, Gloria and Daddy care for it, and share stories and precious moments together beneath its branches. For the first time, Hope feels loved. Others feel it, too. Passersby stop to marvel at the tree, to adore Hope. And a cardinal seeks refuge on Hope’s branches. Hope indeed feels the awesome power of love.
Stephanie Parwulski’s picture book story, Gloria’s Hope Tree, is a very special story which addresses a difficult topic: grief. The author tells the story through the eyes of the maple tree, the one who felt forlorn, forgotten at the back of a garden nursery. The tree learns to hope. As it spreads its branches in its new home, it shares that hope with Gloria and Daddy who are slowly working through their grief. The story’s plot progresses through the seasons, projecting tender images of love and hope. Beautifully illustrated by Tania Ramirez-Cuevas, this book is a treasure that will help young readers cope with loss, to find hope and love in the world around them, perhaps even in a forlorn maple tree.