Written by: Brigita Orel
Illustrated by: Jennie Poh
For ages: 3 years and up
Topics Covered: Friendship, Social-Emotional Learning, Immigration, Imagination, African Culture & Identity, Girls Outdoors, Global Community.
This is a sweet book about friendship told from the perspective of a tree that some children are playing on. Agu has just moved to where the tree is rooted, and wants a friend. Sam is playing pirates in the tree, and she is suspicious of the newcomer. Sam is shouting at her imaginary pirate crew to set sail for Nigeria to gather diamonds when Agu quietly corrects her-there aren’t diamonds in Nigeria. He knows because he used to live there, before he moved here. This is the catalyst for Sam and Agues friendship, and together they begin to sail the high seas together.
I love this story, and having the narrating perspective be the tree in which the children are playing. The book tells a story of kindness and friendship. Sam is initially unsure of this person who she doesn’t recognize, but they find common ground and become friends. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the storyline is important to help develop empathy and friendship skills for children, teaching them the importance of including everyone in their imagination games, especially new friends. I love how it touches on immigration, and the difficult feelings that a young child might experience when moving to a new place.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Brigita Orel is the of the picture book The Pirate Tree, published by Lantana Publishing in 2019. She also “translates books from English into Slovenian, and is a PhD student of Creative writing at Swansea University.
In the past, Brigita has worked as a subtitler, proof-reader, editor, assistant accountant (the most surreal job as she can’t put two and two together most of the time), cleaner, and assistant confectioner.
By profession Brigita is a linguist, and by passion a writer. By far the coolest fact about me is that she wrote her Master’s thesis on Harry Potter. That is cool, right?
Brigita loves photography, sewing, crafting, cooking, reading and learning new languages (currently Swedish).”
Jennie Poh was “born in England and grew up in Malaysia (in the jungle). Pen and paper by her side at all times she loved drawing princesses and writing stories. At the age of ten she moved back to England and trained as a ballet dancer. After failing her art A-level Jennie decided the art world was definitely for her so she studied Fine Art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design as well as Fashion Illustration at Central St.Martins. Illustrating is the reason she gets washed and dressed in the morning. She loves drawing quirky beautiful girly stuff and works with ink, watercolour, collage, origami paper, pencils and usually ends up wanting to bash her computer.
Jennie lives in Surrey with her gorgeous boyfriend and works as a freelance illustrator. As well as illustration her other passions in life are cooking, her pink dressing gown, cats, hedgehogs, making jewelry, Kung Fu Panda, Christmas, books, Harry Potter, new sketchbooks, doing her boyfriend’s washing, magical days, holidays, cafes, Diptique candles and milky tea.”
Jennie’s clients include Stripes Publishing, Usbourne, Capstone, and many more.