Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Perseverance and Beauty of Trees and Heroes

Picture Book: Luna and Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest

Author & Illustrator: Jenny Sue Kosteki-Shaw

Summary: This is a fictionalized version of the true story of Luna, a redwood that sprouted nearly a thousand years ago, and Julia Butterfly Hill, the young woman who saved Luna. Wildlife, such as birds and butterflies were drawn to both Luna and Julia, hence Julia’s nickname. When Butterfly found a blue X on Luna’s trunk and realized that it meant Luna would be chopped down soon, she determined to save the tree by climbing it and staying there. With help and encouragement from a community of friends and fellow-tree lovers, Butterfly managed to live in Luna for over two years! The specifics of how Butterfly succeeds are wonderfully illustrated here including some amazing discoveries Butterfly makes within and upon Luna’s trunk. When challenges arise, we see dreams in which Luna promises to hold Butterfly until she is less afraid, and we see Butterfly develop into a promoter of trees and the forest. After 738 days, Butterfly received a promise that Luna would not be cut down so Butterfly climbs down and walks on the forest floor of The Luna Preserve.  

Hanna’s Comments: I love it when a picture book offers a female hero. If the story is true, that’s great! If the hero is young and still passionate and present in the media, that’s even better. Our girls need these role models and our boys need to know that girls can be heroes too. Besides the Author’s Note at the end of the book, you’ll find more details about the true, more complicated story of Luna and Butterfly on this hero’s website. Here’s the link: http://www.juliabutterfly.com/. You’ll also find some video that you might want to use to supplement your lesson and her slogan, “Yes, yes, you make the difference.” Relate this message to your faith community’s mission to make a positive difference in the world and the courage and perseverance that your community is being called to demonstrate. As you show the illustrations, be sure to have your audience look for Luna’s face in the bark. OR Relate Butterfly’s ordeal and determination to the trials and faith of biblical characters.   

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Christy Ottaviano Books, 2015 

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Fresh off the Press

Scripture Connections: Jacob waits to marry Rachel (Genesis 29); the trials of the Israelites in the wilderness (begins Exodus 14); then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord (1st Chronicles 16:33)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children or youth learning about modern heroes who make great sacrifice for their beliefs.