We asked writer Anne Gillespie Lewis how her new children’s book, A Perfect Tree for Christmas, came into being:
Writers get their ideas in the strangest places. The idea for A Perfect Tree for Christmas, came to me while I was neck-deep in water at the Brooklyn Center Community Center pool. I was thrashing around in a water aerobics class, in my eternal quest to slim down, when through the window I noticed a crooked evergreen tree in the park. Oh, this tree had a problem; its sweeping curve told me it had a clear case of scoliosis. And, since I also have a crooked spine, it was easy for me to empathize with it.
Oh, the poor thing, I thought, nobody would ever pick it for a Christmas tree. Well, writers are a little like magicians; they can make things appear and disappear. So, I imagined the tree was transported to a Christmas tree farm—much like the Hansen Tree Farm in Ramsey where my family has often cut Christmas trees.
To keep the tree company, I gave it a buddy, a tree with the top split in two. As Christmas approached, the two waited as one family after another rejected them in favor of other, more perfect trees. One snooty family said the crooked tree wouldn’t look right in their house, another was afraid it was coming down with something and another wanted a tree with a little more body. In the end, I made sure that both trees found families and had a Merry Christmas.
The beautiful artwork was done by my illustrator friend in Sweden, Carina Ståhlberg. We worked by e-mail, delighting ourselves with the way it came together and even sharing a few tears over the saddest scene. I took the finished book to Norton Stillman, owner of Nodin Press in Minneapolis and he agreed to publish it. It came out on October 20, which was my birthday. It is at Ingebretsen’s now—Carina and I hope you like it!
–Anne Gillespie Lewis
Anne Gillespie Lewis is also the author of Ingebretsen’s Saga and many other books and articles. Carina Ståhlberg has illustrated many books in Scandinavia.
Anne will be signing copies of A Perfect Tree for Christmas and Ingebretsen’s Saga at our Minneapolis store on Friday, November 29 from 10 to noon and Friday, December 6 from 1 to 3.
Anne will be at our Stockholm store on Saturday, December 7 from 10 to 2. That day is also Stockholm’s Country Christmas, a day filled with activities.