Author: Karen Lynn Williams
Illustrator: Linda Saport
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Audience: Ages 4+
Summary: Facile has a new baby sister. He wants to give her the perfect gift. As he sits in the mango tree that his father planted in his honor, he decides to plant a tree to honor Lucia. The first seedling is eaten by a goat; the next is washed away in a storm and a third is burned in a brush fire. Baby Lucia becomes sick, and Mama has to take her far away to the hospital. Facile continues nurturing a tree for his sister. Finally he builds a stone wall around the tree. By the time Mama, Papa, and Lucia return home, the tree is a sturdy sapling and others are planting trees in “circles of hope” on the hillside.
Literary Elements at work in the story: Haiti is the setting of the story. The author notes that Haiti once was known as the “Jewel of the Antilles” and was known for its lush green countryside. However, many trees were cut down for lumber and for charcoal. The bare land suffered from soil erosion as a result. In recent years, attempts have been made to reforest the mountains.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: The culture of Haiti is in the forefront of this story. Traditionally, at the birth of a baby, Haitians have planted the seed of a fruit tree with the baby’s umbilical cord. The resulting tree was viewed as a guardian of the child
Scripture: Genesis 1:11-12, Genesis 1:26-28, I John 4:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Hebrews 6:19, Ephesians 4:15, Galatians 6:9
Theology: Stewardship (caring for creation), Family, Hope, Perseverance
Faith Talk Questions:
- Is a tree a good gift for a new baby? Explain your answer.
- How can a cactus fence protect a seedling?
- How does a rock fence protect a seedling?
- Why does Facile have such a hard time thinking of a gift for his baby sister?
- God gave people dominion over the earth. How do you see that concept in this story?
Review prepared by Union-PSCE alumna Mary Anne Welch
Circles of Hope by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.