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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 24
Themes: Immigration, homesickness, belonging
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 01/Sep/2011
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Maiko has left his village in Africa far behind, moving to live with his aunt and uncle in North America. When he thinks of home he thinks of the large Baobab at the center of his old village. To ease his loneliness, Maiko adopts the little spruce tree in the front yard of his new home. When he learns that the spruce is in danger of being cut down, Maiko knows he can’t let that happen. He knows all too well what it’s like to be small, and feel planted in the wrong place.

Kirkus Reviews
"Watercolors with pleasantly loose ink lines show generic scenes in Africa and multicultural North America...[A] gentle, purposeful story."
Quill & Quire
"A charming read that, without being too syrupy-sweet, offers encouragement to anyone who has ever felt they're in the wrong place...The conversations between Maiko and the tree are particularly superb, capturing the charm and innocence expected of any seven-year-old, but containing the ache of someone who longs for the past. The spare narrative leaves room for readers to craft their own opinions, making the book a good tool for starting conversations...[and] the book's illustrations offer a window onto Maiko's different worlds."
CM Magazine
"A sweet story about a boy who moves from Africa to North America, and doesn't quite fit in...The themes of love, loss and belonging in Dear Baobab are universally appealing. Maiko's homesickness and his pain over the loss of his parents are treated honestly but delicately. Children facing upheaval in their lives will find this book especially engaging, and perhaps even inspiring. Foggo's lyrical text is perfect for reading aloud, and certain expressions nearly turn the story into poetry... Foggo clearly has a gift for descriptive writing...The beautiful illustrations, shaded in pencil, are bursting with emotion. The characters' facial expressions are particularly effective in revealing their feelings. Dear Baobab deals with serious, even tragic, subject matter with a great deal of grace. Maiko's identification with the spruce tree provides an uplifting metaphor which prevents the story from getting bogged down. Instead, Maiko's story is simple and buoyant and will appeal to a wide range of children. Highly Recommended."
Sal's Fiction Addiction Blog
The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Leng's illustrations are a very good match for the story. Perfect for young listeners or readers ages 5 up.
Laura Reilly, Resource Links
This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. It is suitable for both individual readers and for story time.
Melanie Ski, So Many Books... So Little Time
Loved the original concept with the Baobab tree, and the universal concept of children having to move and try to fit in.
Canadian Teacher Magazine
This sweetly illustrated picture book is the story of a small boy’s struggle to develop a sense of belonging in a new country. All primary aged children can relate to his vulnerability and to the many emotions expressed in Maiko’s story, making it an ideal venue for teaching the concept of making connections.
HelenK, CanLit for Little Canadians
Calgarian Cheryl Foggo's impressive writing credentials foretold the jewel of Dear Baobab, her first children's picture book, a sympathetic but hopeful portrayal of finding a way to fit it.
Papertigers Blog
Dear Baobab is a gentle story about settling into a new home and a new culture. It opens up many questions for young readers, who will be touched by its universally relevant themes of bullying and belonging.
Healthy Books Blog
This is a moving and delightful story of a child who has had to make enormous changes in his life. Beautifully - even lyrically - written, it also has evocative and warmly human illustrations. A lovely book.

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