Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers: The Things She's Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Tree of Dreams

Thirteen-year-old chocolatier Coco Hidden believes "chocolate makes everything better"--or at least it always has before. Coco isn't so sure these days: her best friend, Leo, has abandoned her for the popular kids, and El Corazón, the chocolate shop Coco and her mom run, may close if business doesn't pick up. Then, Coco wins a contest: a free trip to the Amazon; Leo, both their moms and their neighbor Gali ("any kid's dream grandfather") accompany her. Coco, who has been having dreams about a mysterious, ancient mother-tree--a ceiba tree--with a secret treasure, begins to wonder if her trip to the Amazon might be more than chance. Gali believes there could be a deeper meaning, telling her that "magic is around us all the time, but if we're not looking, we miss it." Could the ceiba tree hold the key to saving El Corazón?

Tree of Dreams by Laura Resau (The Lightning Queen) links a snowy resort town in Colorado to the Amazon rain forest through the socially minded bean-to-bar chocolate industry. Resau brings to light the dangers of deforestation and the ripple effect it causes on the surrounding community; upon their arrival in the Amazon, Coco and Leo are horrified by the rain forest devastation wrought by the oil industry. Featuring chapters from the point of view of a wise ceiba tree, Tree of Dreams is a call to action that asks readers to join the fray. "Are you listening?" the ceiba tree asks, "Do you feel our roots touching? Can you imagine our strength together? Will you join forces to help?" --Kyla Paterno, former YA and children's book buyer