Hello everyone! I'm so excited to share the cover of my new novel coming out March 26, 2019 with Scholastic... Tree of Dreams!
I absolutely LOVE the cover art by Charles Santoso, and am delighted with the overall design by Elizabeth Parisi and the rest of the team at Scholastic. And I'm enormously grateful to my brilliant editor, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and wonderful associate editor, Natalia Remis, for helping me shape this book into the final product (which is now at the page-proofing stage!)
Here's a summary of the book:
Coco loves chocolate. When she’s not helping run her Mom’s chocolate shop, El Corazón, she’s tinkering with recipes, devising unique and delicious treats to entice chocolate lovers. But amid this sweetness, a few things are troubling Coco. Her best friend and fellow chocolate maker Leo has stopped talking to her, El Corazón is struggling, and Coco’s mom is thinking about closing its doors.
Soon Coco starts dreaming about a wise and wondrous ceiba tree that promises her answers. And when she and Leo get the opportunity to visit the Amazon Rain Forest, Coco has faith she’ll find this magical ceiba from her dreams — and save El Corazón.
But before good can emerge, there is destruction. Coco comes face-to-face with the environmental and cultural harm done to the rain forest and to the Huaorani people who call it home. As friendships bloom, her heart begins to ache for a way to help those in danger.
In this urgent, beautiful novel, acclaimed author Laura Resau shows us that love is more powerful than hatred, and that by working together —with a little magic — hope can always be restored, root and branch.
Ages 8 to 14 (and older teens and grown-ups who are young at heart...), Scholastic Press.
Release date: January 1, 2019
I had so much fun researching this book! Here are some links to my research adventures:
Here you can find blog posts and photos of my Nuance Chocolate shop and factory tours, and my visit to a sustainable cacao farm with Garden Island Chocolate in Kauai, Hawaii. (There are several posts... be sure to keep clicking "Older Posts" at the end of each page.)
Here you can find blog posts and photos of my research in the Huaorani territory of the Amazon rain forest in the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. (There are five posts total... be sure to keep clicking "Older Posts" when you get to the end of each page.)
Although I savored writing a story full of so much deliciousness and lushness, I also experienced some heart-breaking moments. After spending blissful, fascinating days in the rain forest learning from my new Huaorani friends, we floated a few hours downstream in a dugout canoe... only to witness oil drilling operations in full force. There, the landscape was a stark, gloomy, barren, spine-chilling contrast to the magnificent green paradise where I'd spent the previous days.
Through research and documentaries like Crude, I learned more about how oil drilling and logging operations devastate the health of the entire rain forest ecosystem and the indigenous people who have called it home for millenia.
I'd been planning to return to this Huaorani community again a year or two after my first visit, to work with Pegonka and other friends on their creative projects. But when I began to plan my second trip, I was deeply shaken to discover that an oil company had begun seismic oil exploration in my friends' territory. This involves planting explosives to locate possible drilling locations... and turning this part of the forest into a danger zone.
This sad turn of events made me even more determined to bring my book into the world. Although it's a work of fiction, the environmental issues in the story are very real and urgent, affecting the lives of forests and people daily. As with all my books, the ending is hopeful... and I am hopeful that Tree of Dreams will inspire readers to work together to respect and protect our earth.
Pegonka climbing a very tall tree to get some fruit...
Thanks for reading-- I can't wait to share Tree of Dreams with you next spring!