Eliza's Cherry Trees

Japan's Gift to America

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday 
hosted today by EMU's Debuts
(pub. 3.3.2011) 32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Andrea Zimmerman
     and Illustrator:  Ju Hong Chen

C haracter:   Eliza Scidmore

O verview from the jacket flap: 

         "Eliza Scidmore was a remarkable woman. Adventurous and talented, she traveled around the world visiting interesting places. She wrote about her travels for newspapers and magazines, including the National Geographic Society magazine, where she was the first female writer and photographer.  She published seven books, including the first guide to Alaska.
         After seeing the parks and riverbanks in Japan, she fell in love with the cherry blossoms there. They formed pink clouds around everything and were so beautiful that she wanted to bring them back to America... However, not everyone shared Eliza's vision - certainly not the parks supervisors. She met with every one of them, year after year, to explain her idea. When they didn't listen, she asked Helen Taft, the president's wife, for help.
           It took more than twenty years for Eliza's cherry trees to become part of Washington, D.C.'s landscape..."

T antalizing taste: 

     "As she grew older, Eliza remembered all the places she had visited. She believed that all the countries in the world could live together in peace. She spent her later years working for that. She knew that sometimes, when you have a good idea, you just have to keep trying for a long time."

and something more:   Tomorrow, to celebrate the first day of Spring, I will be reading Eliza's Cherry Trees - Japan's Gift to America to my favorite class of second graders in their classroom with Mrs. Caulkins where I have the privilege to volunteer each week. And, I found a wonderful video on the author's Eliza Scidmore site that I will show the students -- a time-lapse video showing cherry trees blooming! It was created from over 3,000 digital photos, one taken every 3 minutes for eight days at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's famed Cherry Walk. Truly mesmerizing!  And, I will also tell the students that I met the author of Eliza's Cherry Trees, Andrea Zimmerman, at a SCBWI writing conference at Asilomar in Monterey, California, a few weeks ago. Such a treat for me to spend the weekend with writers, illustrators, editors and agents who all love children's literature, and don't mind talking about it 24/7.  And also, I met the terrific childrens' book agent, Erin Murphy, at Asilomar -- and the host of today's Nonfiction Monday, EMU's Debuts, is named after Erin Murphy Literary Agency.


Louise said...

Such a beautiful cover for this book. It sounds lovely. I watched the video too. Beautiful. And so great to see so many people out enjoying the trees, and enjoying nature's beauty.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks Louise for stopping by. So glad you had a chance to view the video, too.

Medea said...

This sounds fantastic. So many Japanese people believe cherry trees are only in Japan, I would like to share this with them!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Wonderful! And I think they will enjoy learning about her love of Japan -- she even wrote a book about her travels published in 1891.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi Jeanne, so glad to hear that you had fun at the SCBWI conference - it does seem like a lot of like-minded individuals gather together during those events, and that's always mind-blowing. One of my soul-sisters is half-Japanese, I have a feeling she'd love this book. Will look out for this one. :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks Myra for stopping by! Yes, I'm still on an SCBWI-inspired high. And think your soul-sister would like this book -- Eliza Scidmore loved Japan and even wrote a book about traveling there in the late 1890s.