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The Girl Who Became a Tree A Story Told in Poems

"Heart-breaking, powerful, totally involving, and engrossing to read"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Shortlisted for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021

Joseph Coehlo is a poet who has been in the situation of ‘the one to watch’ because he has been producing lots of wonderful work that has made an impact from picture books to teen reads.  This is his most ground-breaking and powerful exploration of poetry as a form and as a story-telling medium to date.

Based on the legend of Daphne – she was a Naiad-nymph who was loved by the god Apollo who pursued her until she grew exhausted and called on Gaia for help. She was transformed into a laurel tree which Apollo then adopted as his sacred plant.  This creates a clever and intriguing interweaving of the ancient legend with the reaction and feelings of a girl, also called Daphne, who is coping with the grief caused by the loss of her father.  She turns to her phone for aid, and her local library as she tries to sort out the past and find a way to build connections again.

The verse is heart-breaking, powerful, totally involving, and engrossing to read.  The layers of meaning enlighten the story in this rich poetic exploration – a tour de force – full of energy and a rich palette of language.  

This is not to disregard the evocative and powerful illustrations from one of our most innovative and prize-winning illustrators to add stylish, edgy and thought-provoking illustrations.  The whole package is an experience that will cause discussion and deep thought in every reader.

Tricia Adams

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