"We bought this book for our friend and her two year old son, and this became his most beloved bedtime story. Each loved the book for a different reason, the boy, for the beautiful story and pictures in which he kept discovering secret, hidden things; and the Mom for the story, the creativity, and the art." - Customer review originally published on Amazon
Eira and her dad explore friendships between a growing redwood tree and other creatures which include the hungry banana slug, the brave bushy fern, the noisy oak tree among others. The redwood learns from its friends but outgrows them. Eira finds a way to bring the friendships back.
Eira spent two years of her life in the redwood forests of Northern California. The Redwood Tree and its Friends story was created when Eira formed different friendships in her preschool with children of mixed ages. Vlada and Muthu, Eira’s parents, worked and reworked her words.
The talented NY-based artist Alexis Kandra has produced high fidelity art of the natural world set amidst abstract grids and spheres.
Eira’s parents tried different ways to collaborate with Eira such as recording their story sessions, taking pictures in the woods, doodling on sandy beaches, and many other methods. What really worked: Dad stretched out a large roll of paper and sketched a few panels, and eventually Eira added the characters and moved the story along. When Dad tried to end the story, Eira objected to it, grabbed the narrative, and took it forward in her own way.
Eira in Action
Eira composed much of the story. In Redwood Tree and its Friends book, she identified animals and plants for the story and removed the ones that did not fit. She also generated the ideas for the friendly messages from one creature to the next. When Alexis started the painting project, Eira described the magic of redwoods to Alexis. Eira visited Alexis at her studio, and her parents pinned photos of Alexis’s paintings on the walls at their home.
Through such constant interaction, Eira brainstormed and helped mold the final compositions. Eira also helped choose fonts with graphic designers, and helped narrow paper choices with the printer. Eira involved herself in the entire pipeline for producing this book.
Most important of all, Eira learned to be patient. She wanted to give a copy of her book to her friends, but she had to wait for more than one year from the start of the publishing process to holding a hard copy in her hand.
The Redwood Tree and Its Friends
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