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

This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth
by Sean Rubin; illus. by the author
Primary    Holt    48 pp.    g
5/21    978-1-250-78850-4    $18.99

This is the story of an extraordinary Callery pear tree, told in the voice of the tree itself. Planted in the 1970s, this early spring bloomer thrived in the bustling downtown Manhattan cityscape, providing shade for workers and a haven for birds — until September 11, 2001. The simple text states, “It was an ordinary morning. Until it wasn’t.” Several pages of progressively darker, but not overly graphic, sequential art capture the devastation that followed on that fateful day. Weeks after the attack, workers pulled the badly damaged but still-alive pear tree from the rubble. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation took charge of the rescue and replanted it in the Bronx, where it was nursed back to health over nearly a decade. The tree’s recovery from the physical and emotional trauma is mirrored by the city’s resilience and regrowth and the development of an oak forest on the 9/11 Memorial grounds. “Between the trees, they saved three empty spaces. Two spaces remained where the towers once stood. They would stay empty forever, because nothing could fill them.” The third space was reserved for the “Survivor Tree,” which was returned to the World Trade Center in 2010, offering visitors peace, hope, and the first blossoms every spring. Rubin’s lively and energetic paneled art takes the focus quickly from destruction and desolation to growth and renewal, and the spare, moving account is perfectly suited to young audiences. A volume that could be part of any unit on 9/11 for children, or a lesson on resilience.

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.