The short story ‘The Willow Tree’, aimed at kids aged 4+ years and their parents, tells the tale of a Willow Tree whom finds itself in a darkened place from a loss of it’s own identity. The relatable Willow Tree story incorporates themes of identity, change, resilience, and kindness, to help a child navigate the world. The 320 word story reads almost like a poem.
“The willow now knows to stay indifferent to any starkness,
for those blind enough to miss it’s subtle dance with the wind,
are busy with the struggle of fighting their own darkness.”
‘The Willow Tree’ shares a similar likeness to the popular picture book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ is a fun and engaging story for children to almost chant along to, with an underlying theme of addressing your problems, rather than going around or avoiding them. ‘The Willow Tree’ shares the same strong sensory images with fun rhyming descriptions that will keep children excited and engaged. Although, ‘The Willow Tree’ does more than engage the children in solving a problem like in ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’: Rather it inspires children to think about themselves, who they are, who they want to be, and reminds them that they’re in charge of the person they’d like to become. ‘The Willow Tree’ will continue to remind children (and parents) that it’s okay to be their true selves, and not a reflection of what they ‘should’ be as determined by something or someone else.
‘The Willow Tree’ tells the story of a personified willow tree, who initially is presented as being in a dark place: It becomes clear that the willow tree is sheltered in darkness as it cannot love itself wholly from constantly being told who to be – suggesting that the willow’s true self is not good enough. I feel this concept is incredibly relatable as parents/friends/partners/society can often push their loved ones/individuals to pursue interests/goals/hobbies/education/jobs that are not the individuals true passion. This notion can be extremely damaging to any persons self worth and identity if who they truly are is suppressed. The overall story’s theme notion of identity is incredibly relatable to all people in many different situations: children learning who they are, professionals, teenagers navigating life, young adults choosing a career pathway, culturally diverse people, people questioning their sexual identity, people with unique interests, and many more. Often a persons true identity can be suppressed until very later on in life, sometimes their true self is never exposed. Learning to be one’s true self is no easy task, which is why the notion needs to be embedded into people’s minds from as young as possible.
“…house my friends if they need a break,
for not being myself would be a grave mistake.”
Book includes short story and a full interpretation.