TREE OF DREAMS
* “A moving exploration of friendship, activism, and how chocolate makes everything better.” — Kirkus, STARRED
“An enchanting novel that raises valuable real-life questions while reminding readers to recognize the magic that connects all life.” - School Library Journal
about 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 up!), Scholastic Press, release date: March 26, 2019
Here you can find blog posts and photos of Laura's research in the Amazon rain forest. (There are five posts total... keep clicking "Older Posts" when you get to the end of each page.)
Here you can find blog posts and photos of Laura's bean-to-bar chocolate shop and factory tours, and her visit to a sustainable cacao farm in Kauai, Hawaii. (There are several posts... keep clicking "Older Posts" for more.)
Literary Chocolate Tasting — Instructions for delicious, fun, literacy-focused activities you can do while eating chocolate!
Chocolate Tasting Handout — A printable place mat for chocolate samples, with a chart to record observations about the chocolate, as well as descriptive words to spark ideas.
Chocolatey Book Club Party — Ideas on what to serve, how to decorate, what to wear, what to listen to, what to discuss, what to do for fun, and how to get free, signed bookmarks!
Grow Your Heart Educator Resources — Common Core and STEM connections. Includes book summary, instructions on creating a Grow Your Heart community, pre-reading, discussion, writing, extension activities, and author bio.
Grow Your Heart Poster — Perfect for your classroom or library, this is a colorful poster encouraging reading, empathy, and connection. Easily downloadable, high-resolution, for up to an 18” by 24” poster.
Taking Action— This is a guide with ways to take action to protect our environment and help indigenous people in the Amazon rain forest defend their lands. Includes a meaningful writing activity for kids and teens.
indigenous and environmental issues
The non-profit Rain Forest Alliance offers free rain forest-related lesson plans by grade and aligned with Common Core Standards. (The fourth grade one is about cacao as a sustainable crop!) Go here to see the lesson plans (just scroll down to see them by grade.)
Here you can watch a 4-minute video about indigenous Ecuadorian people’s commitment to protect their land from oil drilling. The woman featured is part of the indigenous Quichua culture— they are facing similar challenges that the Huaorani face.
Here you can see a two-minute video about the Huaoranis' determination to protect their land from oil drilling.
Read an article here about the Huaoranis' (aka Waoranis') challenges defending their territory from oil exploration and drilling in their home in the Yasuni National Park.
Here you can read about how an indigenous Kichwa (aka Quichua) Ecuadorian leader, Patricia Gualinga, is determined to continue her work protecting the Amazon despite death threats and attacks.
* “Resau once again blends the magical (the ceiba tree also narrates chapters throughout the story) with the contemporary in this well-researched and beautifully told tale that encourages readers to advocate for Indigenous and environmental causes. A moving exploration of friendship, activism, and how chocolate makes everything better. (author’s note, language note) (Fiction. 8-13) — Kirkus, STARRED
“This compelling novel is a lovely blend of magical realism and harsh, realistic reminders of environmental and cultural threats to the Amazon and the people who call it home. It presents an opportunity for discussions of activism, deforestation, and what one can do to protect this vital region for the health of our planet. VERDICT An enchanting novel that raises valuable real-life questions while reminding readers to recognize the magic that connects all life.” - School Library Journal, (Gr 4-8)
“Deftly weaving wonderfully descriptive language, scientific facts, and great characters, Tree of Dreams draws the reader into a rich story full of chocolate, the Amazon rainforest, ceiba trees, and friendship… Resau tells the story of Coco and the other characters while tying in words of wisdom that relates the ceiba tree to the reader. The author writes about the importance of environmental issues without adopting a moralistic tone. The plot is entertaining and engaging. The characters are three-dimensional and likable. This would be a great book for those readers who are into science and the environment.” - School Library Connection Review (Gr. 3-7)
“[Coco] encounters deforestation and the local people who depend on the rain forest. She also finds herself, and will need to mend her friendship, heal her broken heart, and realize home can be anywhere. This novel is full of information about conservation, ecosystems, and people indigenous to the Amazon. A poignant tale…” — Booklist
“A delectable reminder that we are all connected, that the earth needs us as much as we need her, and that chocolate, like love, makes everything better.” —Lauren Myracle, NYT best-selling author of The Wishing Day trilogy.
“Oh, lucky reader who settles down with a cup of hot chocolate and a copy of Tree of Dreams! Prepare to dive deep into the process of chocolate-making and journey from the Rocky Mountains to the heart of the Amazon rainforest with an unforgettable cast of wishing, wandering souls. Laura Resau expertly combines science and magic in just the right proportions to create a truly delicious read.” —Tara Dairman, author of The Great Hibernation and the award-winning All Four Stars series
“A sweet concoction of longing, adventure, friendship and hope, Tree of Dreams will sprinkle you with stardust, and take root in your heart.” —Jenny Goebel, author of Fortune Falls, an Indie Next List Pick
“Laura Resau has crafted a poignant and compelling tale of adventure. This enchanting story of friendship — and seeking treasures both tangible and of the heart — had me spellbound from the very beginning. Hold on, and enjoy this magical ride.” —Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, New York Times bestselling author of Book Scavenger
“A bold, exciting, delicious book about the heart in all its manifestations. Tree of Dreams weaves together cultures, science, and magic with all the bittersweet complexity of fine chocolate. Simply put, this is an important and eye-opening book that is the perfect salve for broken hearts in a divided world. —Todd Mitchell, Green Earth Honor Book Award winning author of The Last Panther
“Tree of Dreams is a book with heart: the heart of a courageous girl and her dreams, and the heart of the Amazon Jungle. Seeing the Amazon Jungle through Coco’s eyes made Tree of Dreams a beautiful read. It is rare and wonderful to find a book that inspires, teaches, and entertains. Tree of Dreams does this beautifully! There is magic in this book, as there surely is in the Amazon itself. — Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times Bestselling Author
Featuring chapters from the point of view of a wise ceiba tree, Tree of Dreams is a call to action that asks readers to join the fray. "Are you listening?" the ceiba tree asks, "Do you feel our roots touching? Can you imagine our strength together? Will you join forces to help?" — Shelf Awareness