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Survivor Tree

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Survivor Tree is a picture book by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Aaron Becker. It tells the true story of the Callery pear tree that stood at the base of the World Trade Center for 30 years and was almost destroyed, only to be pulled from the rubble, coaxed back to life, and eventually replanted as part of the 9/11 memorial.


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Survivor Tree is a picture book by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Aaron Becker. It tells the true story of the Callery pear tree that stood at the base of the World Trade Center for 30 years and was almost destroyed, only to be pulled from the rubble, coaxed back to life, and eventually replanted as part of the 9/11 memorial.

30 review for Survivor Tree

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Survivor Tree is a children's picture book written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Aaron Becker. It centers on a remarkable tree, which stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once soared. Since today (11 September 2021) is the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attack, I thought it would apropos to read this book today. A Callery pear tree became known as the "Survivor Tree" after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. Colleen's text is r Survivor Tree is a children's picture book written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Aaron Becker. It centers on a remarkable tree, which stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once soared. Since today (11 September 2021) is the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attack, I thought it would apropos to read this book today. A Callery pear tree became known as the "Survivor Tree" after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. Colleen's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. Colleen frames the narrative through the tree's seasonal displays and its history, employing spare, elegant prose as she traces its journey before its uprooting, its decade of recovery in the Bronx's Arthur Ross Nursery, and its replanting at the 9/11 Memorial. Backmatter includes more information on the Survivor Tree and notes from the creators. Rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, lush illustrations by Caldecott Honoree Becker realistically reflect the city setting and the story's natural elements while leaving space for images of a varied array of human characters. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Observing the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this nonfiction picture book follows a Callery pear tree, growing at the foot of the towers for almost thirty years, that was rescued from the rubble following the attacks. All in all, Survivor Tree is a lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished and survived.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Beautifully illustrated and so well written. A book about a painful day that brings strong feelings to all, but still strikes hope within the story and illustrations. Find an interview with illustrator, Aaron Becker. It's fascinating to hear how he went about making the decisions for his illustrations. Beautifully illustrated and so well written. A book about a painful day that brings strong feelings to all, but still strikes hope within the story and illustrations. Find an interview with illustrator, Aaron Becker. It's fascinating to hear how he went about making the decisions for his illustrations.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book is absolutely beautiful, as well as a gentle introduction to the tragic events of 9/11. One spread in particular took my breath away, instantly taking me back to that terrifying and wrenching day. But in it’s words and lovely illustrations, the story of the Survivor Tree is really quite hopeful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Miller

    This book is a heartbreakingly beautiful, seemingly simple, and delicate story about 9/11 for children (and adults.) There are a number of picture books about this tree and 9/11; this one really blows me away with the subtle references and light touch.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    In simple, spare text that follows the progression of the seasons, author Marcie Colleen tells the inspiriting story of a tree's resilience and renewal before and after the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Colleen doesn't go into detail on the Towers but the beautiful illustrations make it clear that something terrible and catastrophic has happened. A great book for commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this fall. I accessed a digital ARC via Edelweiss. In simple, spare text that follows the progression of the seasons, author Marcie Colleen tells the inspiriting story of a tree's resilience and renewal before and after the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Colleen doesn't go into detail on the Towers but the beautiful illustrations make it clear that something terrible and catastrophic has happened. A great book for commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this fall. I accessed a digital ARC via Edelweiss.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hook

    What a beautiful story and beautiful illustrations for such a sad yet hopeful tree. Don't miss both the Author and Illustrator Notes at the end What a beautiful story and beautiful illustrations for such a sad yet hopeful tree. Don't miss both the Author and Illustrator Notes at the end

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Metcalf

    This breathtaking book broke me with one word—one spread—and put me back together again by its hopeful ending. I can't think of a better way to open conversations with young readers who did not experience 9/11. This picture book respects its readers, both young and experienced, with beauty, lyricism, and simple grace. Just stunning. I'm still crying. This breathtaking book broke me with one word—one spread—and put me back together again by its hopeful ending. I can't think of a better way to open conversations with young readers who did not experience 9/11. This picture book respects its readers, both young and experienced, with beauty, lyricism, and simple grace. Just stunning. I'm still crying.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Zimmers

    Poetic Powerful Heart wrenching Hopeful Marcie Colleen's story is beautifully brought to life by Aaron Becker's stunning illustrations, with the story of the tree entwined with the story of the people of the city. Poetic Powerful Heart wrenching Hopeful Marcie Colleen's story is beautifully brought to life by Aaron Becker's stunning illustrations, with the story of the tree entwined with the story of the people of the city.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darshana Khiani

    A story of loss, renewal, and hope. The author's lyrical language guides us through the seasons and years effortlessly from pre-, during, post- 9/11.. The illustrator's gorgeous watercolor artwork shares a tear-inducing 2nd story, that is a helpful gateway when discussing this horrible event that touched so many lives. This is picture book perfection. I read a digital review copy. A story of loss, renewal, and hope. The author's lyrical language guides us through the seasons and years effortlessly from pre-, during, post- 9/11.. The illustrator's gorgeous watercolor artwork shares a tear-inducing 2nd story, that is a helpful gateway when discussing this horrible event that touched so many lives. This is picture book perfection. I read a digital review copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Katona

    This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking tale about a tree that survived the 9/11 bombing. I hadn't heard this story before, and it's so wonderfully told. Devastation, re-growth, and renewal. Gorgeous illustrations as well. This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking tale about a tree that survived the 9/11 bombing. I hadn't heard this story before, and it's so wonderfully told. Devastation, re-growth, and renewal. Gorgeous illustrations as well.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Davis

    With beautiful spare and lyrical language author Marcie Colleen paints the picture of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks at the WTC on 9/11. Becker's warm color palette captures the turning of the seasons and it's parallel to the regrowth and resilience of the Survivor Tree. Paired together, the art and text remind us that hope and light can emerge from the darkest of days. As an educator, I've taught about the Survivor Tree and look forward to using this story to supplement my teac With beautiful spare and lyrical language author Marcie Colleen paints the picture of the Callery pear tree that survived the attacks at the WTC on 9/11. Becker's warm color palette captures the turning of the seasons and it's parallel to the regrowth and resilience of the Survivor Tree. Paired together, the art and text remind us that hope and light can emerge from the darkest of days. As an educator, I've taught about the Survivor Tree and look forward to using this story to supplement my teaching and make the topic accessible to children.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    On a bustling street in New York City, a small tree grew along the tall steel buildings. It was there for almost thirty years, marking the seasons. Then one September day, there were explosions and buildings fell to rubble, crushing and burning the tree. The tree was found in the wreckage with a few green leaves and taken far away to fresh soil. For several seasons, the tree stayed bare, then one day blossoms and buds arrived. For ten years, the tree grew there until it was time to return home. On a bustling street in New York City, a small tree grew along the tall steel buildings. It was there for almost thirty years, marking the seasons. Then one September day, there were explosions and buildings fell to rubble, crushing and burning the tree. The tree was found in the wreckage with a few green leaves and taken far away to fresh soil. For several seasons, the tree stayed bare, then one day blossoms and buds arrived. For ten years, the tree grew there until it was time to return home. Home to a newly empty sky, where people stopped and wept, and where the tree with its burns and scars offered a way to bridge past to present. This picture book is based on the true story of the tree that survived the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Through seasons of bustling city streets to the attack itself to seasons of healing afterwards, the tree shows an inspiring resilience for us all. Using delicate prose, the author writes of the beauty of the tree even when people were not stopping to notice it. The survival of the tree is told with a gentle admiration for its very survival. Becker beautifully captures the New York City setting of the tree as it changes from before the attack and afterwards. He offers not just a story of the tree itself but an accompanying story in the illustrations about a family growing up alongside the tree and then there loss and memories after the attack. It is this subtle human connection of people to the tree that add much to the book. A haunting and beautiful look at 9/11 and the tree that survived it and continues to inspire. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chana Stiefel

    September 11, 2021. Many of us are having trouble processing that 20 years have passed since 9/11. On top of that, we struggle with how to teach young children about the horrors of that terrible day, which changed our lives forever. Some tools for teaching this moment in history are through books, poetry, and art. All three combine beautifully in the new picture book SURVIVOR TREE by Marcie Colleen, gorgeously illustrated by Aaron Becker. This is the true story of a pear tree that grew for years September 11, 2021. Many of us are having trouble processing that 20 years have passed since 9/11. On top of that, we struggle with how to teach young children about the horrors of that terrible day, which changed our lives forever. Some tools for teaching this moment in history are through books, poetry, and art. All three combine beautifully in the new picture book SURVIVOR TREE by Marcie Colleen, gorgeously illustrated by Aaron Becker. This is the true story of a pear tree that grew for years in the shadows of the Twin Towers. Through use of color, the author and illustrator take us through the seasons. Then…”One September day, the perfect blue sky exploded. Under the blackened remains the tree lay crushed and burned.” Yet from beneath the wreckage workers miraculously discovered green leaves. A sign of hope. The tree was moved and replanted in fresh soil and through the seasons, it persevered. After 10 years, it was “time to go home.” At the 9/11 Memorial, “People no longer rushed by. Instead, they stopped and wept beside two forever-filling pools.” All who read this book will be comforted in knowing that the Survivor Tree stands there today as a symbol rooted in our nation’s persistence and hope in the face of unbearable tragedy. After multiple readings, I discovered that the illustrator included another silent story of a family’s loss and resilience after 9/11. “A million red hearts” for this powerful book that took my breath away.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    In telling the somewhat fictionalized tale of the Callery pear tree that somehow survived being buried under tons of rubble on 9/11, Colleen uses the four seasons to highlight the change from tragedy to hope and memory. The spare text paints a poetic picture of the tree and its journey to recovery. Becker's beautiful illustrations take the text and show in stunning detail how the tree was discovered to be alive and spent years recovering before returning to stand near the memorial created to rem In telling the somewhat fictionalized tale of the Callery pear tree that somehow survived being buried under tons of rubble on 9/11, Colleen uses the four seasons to highlight the change from tragedy to hope and memory. The spare text paints a poetic picture of the tree and its journey to recovery. Becker's beautiful illustrations take the text and show in stunning detail how the tree was discovered to be alive and spent years recovering before returning to stand near the memorial created to remember those lost. Colleen focuses on how the tree stood silent and almost invisible in the 30 years before the tragedy, and how it now stands as a testament to the resilience of life as the new growth arises from the scars of that tragic day. This remarkable book makes for an interesting contrast to Sean Rubin's This Very Tree. Both books share the same general story and themes, but it's portrayed in such different ways that comparing the two makes for a very interesting exercise.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    This book moved me in countless ways. To tears. I have no doubt that young audiences will receive the depth and power of the story and sense the connection to a historic event that is not part of their lived epxerience, and yet shaped the world in which they live. Everything about this book, from the finely crafted and reserved text, to the reassurance of repetition and pacing, to the color tones throughout (and particularly on the cover), to the art that evils the heart of human reaction and the This book moved me in countless ways. To tears. I have no doubt that young audiences will receive the depth and power of the story and sense the connection to a historic event that is not part of their lived epxerience, and yet shaped the world in which they live. Everything about this book, from the finely crafted and reserved text, to the reassurance of repetition and pacing, to the color tones throughout (and particularly on the cover), to the art that evils the heart of human reaction and the passage of many years over time, to the tall portrait trim size that supports the celebration of survival, this is a masterful creation and must-have book in classrooms, libraries, and families. As the text quote on the back cover says: EVEN IN THE DARKEST TIMES, COLOR WILL ALWAYS RETURN TO THE WORLD.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This pretty book honors 9/11 through a Callery pear tree tree that was found alive in the rubble of the twin towers. The badly damaged tree was taken to a nursery in the Bronx where botanists thought it would not recover. Miraculously, it did, so they transplanted it at the 9/11 Memorial in 2010 where it blooms in the spring and colors red in the fall to this day. There is a visible line of demarcation on the bark indicating the day the towers came down. In the author's note in the back, Marcie This pretty book honors 9/11 through a Callery pear tree tree that was found alive in the rubble of the twin towers. The badly damaged tree was taken to a nursery in the Bronx where botanists thought it would not recover. Miraculously, it did, so they transplanted it at the 9/11 Memorial in 2010 where it blooms in the spring and colors red in the fall to this day. There is a visible line of demarcation on the bark indicating the day the towers came down. In the author's note in the back, Marcie Colleen noted that Callery pear trees have a short life span often topping out at twenty years. This tree has lived twenty years since 9/11. Ooo, chills. This would be a great read aloud to upper elementary or middle grade readers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is a good retelling of the fall of the World Trade Center, but told from the POV of the tree that grew in their shadows - so a retelling from the side. The pictures tell an additional story of a brother and sister growing up around the tree, then after the tree has been replanted, you realize that the sister is missing, and the brother now has a family that visits the tree. This would be good for showing resilience in the face of tragedy, or a good read-aloud for a history unit (since kids This is a good retelling of the fall of the World Trade Center, but told from the POV of the tree that grew in their shadows - so a retelling from the side. The pictures tell an additional story of a brother and sister growing up around the tree, then after the tree has been replanted, you realize that the sister is missing, and the brother now has a family that visits the tree. This would be good for showing resilience in the face of tragedy, or a good read-aloud for a history unit (since kids these days weren't born when the towers fell)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    Beautiful. And the story within the story told through the illustrations is poignant. The use of the changing seasons to tie into the passage of time and life of this tree are impactful. Overall, a hopeful story, while not focusing on the events or terrorist reasons for the events on the day of the attacks. Would be a good intro for our youngest students. The backmatter with additional information on the life of this tree, an author's note, and and illustrators note add depth and context. Beautiful. And the story within the story told through the illustrations is poignant. The use of the changing seasons to tie into the passage of time and life of this tree are impactful. Overall, a hopeful story, while not focusing on the events or terrorist reasons for the events on the day of the attacks. Would be a good intro for our youngest students. The backmatter with additional information on the life of this tree, an author's note, and and illustrators note add depth and context.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Burris

    This is a lovely picture book about a Callery pear tree that stood near the Twin Towers and, miraculously, survived 9/11. When first responders were searching the ruins, they not only found the tree, but were amazed to see that it still had leaves on it. The tree was transplanted to a nursery in the Bronx, and was returned to be replatned as part of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Despite passing a normal Callery pear's life span, the tree lives on, a symbol of hope for our weary nation. This is a lovely picture book about a Callery pear tree that stood near the Twin Towers and, miraculously, survived 9/11. When first responders were searching the ruins, they not only found the tree, but were amazed to see that it still had leaves on it. The tree was transplanted to a nursery in the Bronx, and was returned to be replatned as part of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Despite passing a normal Callery pear's life span, the tree lives on, a symbol of hope for our weary nation.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mindy Alyse Weiss

    This is such a powerful picture book with lyrical writing that reaches straight to your heart. It made me teary and hopeful at the same time. Without going into details of 9/11, the story of the Survivor Tree captures so many emotions. I think we can all use the hope this amazing tree gives us…that with nurturing, our world will be bright, beautiful, and thrive again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Holly Mueller

    Gorgeous. Aaron Becker continues to be one of my favorite children's book illustrators. I recently visited the 9/11 Memorial and am so sad I didn't know more about the Survivor Tree so I could have sought it out. Next time! I love trees and how they symbolize life and hope. Be sure to share this one every Sept. 11th! Gorgeous. Aaron Becker continues to be one of my favorite children's book illustrators. I recently visited the 9/11 Memorial and am so sad I didn't know more about the Survivor Tree so I could have sought it out. Next time! I love trees and how they symbolize life and hope. Be sure to share this one every Sept. 11th!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie Reilley

    Beautifully illustrated, this hopeful and healing story teaches readers the history of the Survivor Tree. The illustrations use nature’s cycle of colors (bare, white, green, red) to showcase the power of resilience. Back matter includes history and a note from the author and illustrator. Must buy for an elementary classroom!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Lovely, haunting cover! The afterward details about this tree were of interest. It had almost reached the end of its normal life span before 9-11, and was the last living thing pulled from wreckage. It is nice that its seedlings are bring propagated and given to other communities that have endured distress. Scant mention as to the actual attack or the human lives lost though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bee (BacchusVines)

    Survivor Tree is about a tree that was found in the rubble of the Twin Towers after the horrific attack that happened in September 11, 2001. The author and artist use few words and muted colors to bring the emotions of sorrow and healing through the tree. I felt the emotions hard while reading this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Wow. When the 20th anniversary of 9/11 came around, I couldn't imagine an age-appropriate way to tackle this topic with young kids who were born long after the event. But this book shows the way. A beautiful story of resilience that honors the victims and what was lost without going into details that would be traumatic or confusing. Wow. When the 20th anniversary of 9/11 came around, I couldn't imagine an age-appropriate way to tackle this topic with young kids who were born long after the event. But this book shows the way. A beautiful story of resilience that honors the victims and what was lost without going into details that would be traumatic or confusing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zan Porter

    The Callery pear tree standing at the base of the World Trade Center is almost destroyed on September 11, but it is pulled from the rubble, coaxed back to life, and replanted as part of the 9/11 memorial

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gina Perry

    Such a powerful and beautiful book - masterfully handled subject matter, accessible and impactful to both adults and children. It's exactly the book if you want to share 9/11 with your children in a gentle way. Such a powerful and beautiful book - masterfully handled subject matter, accessible and impactful to both adults and children. It's exactly the book if you want to share 9/11 with your children in a gentle way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Recently there have been quite a few picture books to come out about the 9/11 Survivor Tree, so it takes a lot to make each one stand out. With this book, what stands out is when the single turn of a page makes you gasp and leave you speechless, you know you've experienced something special. Recently there have been quite a few picture books to come out about the 9/11 Survivor Tree, so it takes a lot to make each one stand out. With this book, what stands out is when the single turn of a page makes you gasp and leave you speechless, you know you've experienced something special.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary-Jane

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An excellent picture book that provides a different perspective on September 11th. This story is about a peach tree that grew at the base of the twin towers and was rehabilitated from the trauma afterward by caring hands. A remarkable true story with all kinds of parallels.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I’ve read a few books about the famous Survivor Tree of 9/11, but the alliterative text by Marcie Colleen and alluring illustrations by Aaron Becker make this tribute to a tree special. “We will never forget.”

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