Anna loves the old pear tree that lives at the bottom of the garden. When she becomes seriously ill, her relationship with the tree provides comfort and peace on her journey, particularly when she plants a seed from one of the tree’s pears. Pear of Hope is the story of a little girl with cancer and her tale of recovery. This is intertwined with the growth of a pear tree, which symbolises the concept of hope.
Author Wenda Shurety wrote Pear of Hope because, as someone living with Multiple Sclerosis, hope has been instrumental in her healing process.
Told through sensitive words, the gentle story will inspire and comfort children, regardless of their journey. It is a great introduction to building a positive outlook in the face of struggle, or as the buzzword in education would put it, resilience.
There are also comprehensive teacher's notes on the publisher's website, which are worth a read if you're not too sure how to tackle such a sensitive topic. That said though, the book is gentle and positive.
Illustrations by Deb Hudson mimic the story, with sensitivity and gentleness to the fore. She uses colour, whimsy and texture to illustrate life, love and growth. Her attention to detail is superb; we spent hours exploring the pages and finding every bee, butterfly and bug hidden within.
The story doesn't explicitly state Anna's illness, but together with Hudson's illustrations, the story documents her journey.
Pear of Hope will be an invaluable resource for educators, carers, and those in the medical profession. But it will also be of value to parents. The message is universal. Children face transitions and challenges of all sorts throughout their early years, Pear of Hope will provide comfort and inspiration to all.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Exisle Publishing, RRP $24.99