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From the Horn Book family to yours…

Photo: Richard Asch.

…happiest of holiday seasons!

We had a lovely time on our holiday outing yesterday. (Thanks, cruise director Cindy!) Our day started at the 22nd annual “Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature” exhibit at the Concord Museum. From the museum’s website:

A love of books and reading is a lifelong treasure passed from adult to child, from generation to generation. “Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature” at the Concord Museum in historic Concord, Massachusetts gives Concord’s renowned literary tradition a creative twist.  During the holiday season, the Museum’s galleries are filled with more than 30 fanciful trees of all shapes and sizes, decorated with original ornaments inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks and contemporary picture book favorites.

The exhibition’s focus on children’s literature makes “Family Trees” unique among the many holiday events in Greater Boston. Each tree serves as a canvas for the artistic creations of a dedicated team of volunteer decorators. Inspired by the storyline, the illustrations, the characters or setting of a particular book, the decorators let their imaginations take flight, much to the delight of visitors of all ages from all over New England.

The trees are amazing, ranging in size from teeny-tiny to enormous and displaying a wide variety of picture-book styles and subjects. All of them are incredibly creative and clearly decorated with love. Here are just a few that we admired.

Slide 1
The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow; illustrated by Wendell Minor.
Slide 2
The Seashore Book tree. Photo: Cindy Ritter.
Slide 3
Brave Irene, written and illustrated by William Steig.
Slide 4
Brave Irene tree. Photo: Shoshana Flax.
Slide 5
The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Chris Turnham.
Slide 6
The Wish Tree tree. Photo: Shoshana Flax.
Slide 7
May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers; illustrated by Beni Montresor.
Slide 8
May I Bring a Friend? tree. Photo: Cindy Ritter. (Rumor has it that Simmons professor emerita Susan Bloom was one of this team's members!)
Slide 9
When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney; illustrated by Jana Christy.
Slide 10
When Snow Falls tree. Photo: Cindy Ritter.
Slide 11
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban; illustrated by Lillian Hoban.
Slide 12
Bread and Jam for Frances tree. Photo: Cindy Ritter.
Slide 13
Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, written and illustrated by Grace Lin.
Slide 14
Thanking the Moon tree. Photo: Cindy Ritter.

Each tree is accompanied by a copy of the featured book, and some of the installations include thematic activities such as writing a wish to put on the wish tree. Maybe next year we’ll decorate one! It looks like a lot of hard work, though…

We took a quick lap around the shops downtown before heading to Main Streets Cafe for lunch, which was delicious (if chilly — we were in a private function room with a draft, and ate still bundled up in coats and scarves!).

Photo: Lolly Robinson.

We hope, as Shoshana said, that your holidays and new year are “bookish and bright.”

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. This is so nice: to think of your holiday outing. Good fun.
    Other folks might like to know that this year’s Festival of Trees was curated by the one and only D.B. Johnson!

  2. Happy Holidays to All! Here’s to the best year ever in 2018!

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