Thursday, August 11

The Red Tree

A friend was going through rough times. She had an inner kid that would normally bounce up & down at the sight of something as simple as beautiful flowers, but not once cracks appeared. Her inner kid seemed to have seeped out through the cracks.

I wanted her to know that I understand & that things will get better – they always do. But words had been over-used.

Then I wondered into the children’s section in a bookstore (as I often do), & spotted a picture book that said it all.  

“The Red Tree” by Shaun Tan is powerful & imaginative, dark yet hopeful.  But I wasn't sure if my friend would appreciate a kid’s book, even if it tells it so well, so I didn’t buy it.

"sometime you don't know"..."who you are meant to be"
Over the next few days I found that I couldn't stop thinking about it. In the end I figured that there is nothing about this work of art that should restrict grown ups from connecting with it, went back & bought two copies – one for her and one for me. (Actually, I was so excited about this book that I wanted to buy copies for all my friends…)

"Wonderful things are passing you by"
Shaun Tan, the incredibly talented Australian artist, illustrator, animator & writer doesn’t shy away from subjects that are dark & unsettling. His books deal with social & political themes, as well as human experiences such as loneliness, sadness & depression. Yet they have this honesty, compassion & sweet innocence about them that go straight to your heart.

His books are undoubtedly amongst some of the finest examples of picture books that are placed on the children’s’ shelves in the book stores, but should definitely be on the grown up’s ones as well.

Back to my friend – The Red Tree book didn’t heal her; it was never supposed to. But it did make her smile. In time, however, the cracks disappeared. We went to look at flowers the other day, and the kid in her bounced up and down with excitement, just as she used to.

  To learn more about Shaun Tan, check these links:

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