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Author: Davies, Nicole
Illustrator: Carlin, Laura
Publisher: Candlewick
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 978-0763666330
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

The Promise

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The Promise opens in a gray city that is “mean and hard and ugly”. A young girl who feels as mean and hard and ugly as the city ┬álives on the street by stealing from others. With her heart “shrivelled as the dead trees in the park”, she tries to steal a bag from an old lady. During their back and forth battle for the bag, her victim proves surprisingly strong, however, the old woman finally says “if you promise to plant them, I’ll let go.” When the girl escapes with her booty and finally sits down to see her haul, she discovers that it is a bag full of acorns. Instead of throwing it away in disgust, she chooses instead to marvel: “I held a forest in my arms.” Thus begins a transformative jouney as she begins to keep her promise. Carlin’s chalk and watercolour illustrations perfectly capture the gray hopelessness of the city and it’s denizens. As the city slowly transforms, tree by tree, she deftly adds a hint of colour here and there, moving to bold splashes of colour as the city becomes a bright, warm and inviting space. Excellent choice for discussions on paying it forward, trees and forests, plants, and individuals making a difference. Grades 4-12

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