Join us in celebrating COOL GREEN: AMAZING, REMARKABLE TREES book birthday! We sat down with Musa Lulu Delacre to learn all about the inspiration behind this book.
But first, a little bit about Cool Green: Amazing, Remarkable Trees (simultaneously published in Spanish VERDE FRESCO: ÁRBOLES ASOMBROSOS Y EXTRAORDINARIOS).
COOL GREEN: AMAZING, REMARKABLE TREES is a portrait of some of the world's most incredible trees, seen through the eyes of a landscaper who loves them--and his granddaughter who is beginning to understand why.
What three words describe your book? Kirkus Reviews nailed it. A thought-provoking arboreal exploration.
Where did you get the idea for this particular story? I'm an avid gardener, drawn to nature since I was a little girl. In late 2019 I saw an exhibit on trees. In it, I learned about mother trees, the symbiotic relationship between fungi and trees, and how trees help each other. Extensive research deepened my knowledge about what trees do for humans and the earth. Then, in 2020 I noticed how Latino landscapers fell into the category of essential workers. In my long hikes through our National Parks, the idea of blending these two sets of facts into a story came to me. And the books Cool Green: Amazing, Remarkable Trees and Verde fresco, Árboles asombrosos y extraordinarios were born.
What was your favorite part of the publication process with this story? Aside sitting at my drawing table painting, my favorite part was to write the Spanish version. It was a thrill to feel how much easier language comes to me when I write in español, the language of my heart, childhood, and dreams.
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a writer until now? Persistence. My first book was published in 1983 and through the decades I’ve learned to adapt to the changing publishing landscape and always persist in creating works that may reach children like my own. Children born or raised in the USA straddling two languages and cultures.
What message are you hoping readers will take away from this story? More than a message, I would hope that readers will go out into nature and begin to look at trees with deeper understanding, with deeper respect. I love as much for one student to feel compelled to plant a tree, as for another to realize that an essential worker like a landscaper may know much more than what it seems.
What comes next for you as an author? I don’t know if you ever played Veo, Veo, ¿Qué ves? (The Latino version of I Spy). I did. Veo, Veo, I See You, a picture book to be released in the fall, is about a young Latina learning the true meaning of the word essential. It’s a celebration of essential workers, most of whom were black and brown in 2020.
Lulu Delacre is a New York Times Bestselling artist and three-time Pura Belpré Award honoree. Born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinean parents, Delacre says her Latino heritage and her life experiences inform her work. Her 42 titles include Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America, a Horn Book Fanfare Book in print for over 30 years. Her bilingual picture book ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado; Olinguito, from A to Z! Unveiling the Cloud Forest and her story collection Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos have received multiple starred reviews and awards. Among her latest works are the art of Turning Pages by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Luci Soars. Delacre has lectured internationally and served as a juror for the National Book Awards. She has exhibited at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, The Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, and the Zimmerli Art Museum among other venues. Reading is Fundamental honored her with a Champion of Children’s Literacy Award.
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