COVER REVEAL: Branches of Hope – The 9/11 Survivor Tree

Ann Magee and the 9/11 Tree

There are certain events that burn an indelible mark on our hearts and in our brains. August 6, 1945 – the day they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. November 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And September 11, 2001 – the day the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell.

Thousands of lives were lost…but exponentially many more than that were impacted by the tragedy. Experts suggest that a good way to help children gain an understanding and deal with such sensitive issues is with a picture book. One of my dear friends and critique buddies, Ann McGee, believes that also, and she has her debut picture book coming out on May 18, 2021 called BRANCHES OF HOPE: The 9/11 Survivor Tree, illustrated by Nicole Wong and published by Charlesbridge.

It’s a joy to reveal the beautiful cover!!!!!

Oh my gosh! What a fabulous cover! They say that a cover is one of the most important elements of a book because it invites the reader to pick it up. What elements of this cover do you think invite a child to pick it up and start reading?

Here’s a little snippet from the publisher:

The branches of the 9/11 Survivor Tree poked through the rubble at Ground Zero. They were glimpses of hope in the weeks after September 11, 2001.

Remember and honor the events of 9/11 and celebrate how hope appears in the midst of hardship. The Survivor Tree found at Ground Zero was rescued, rehabilitated, and then replanted at the 9/11 Memorial site in 2011. This is its story.

In this moving tribute to a city and its people, a wordless story of a young child accompanies the tree’s history. As the tree heals, the girl grows into an adult, and by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, she has become a firefighter like her first-responder uncle. A life-affirming introduction to how 9/11 affected the United States and how we recovered together.

Are you excited to read this story? I spoke to Ann and she shared a bit of how this book came to be:

ANN: “An interesting backstory as to how this story sold is that originally I had sent it to Yolanda Scott at Charlesbridge through a conference-type submission (Kristen’s online summer 2016 WOW WEEK Challenge). I emailed it days before the December 31st deadline in 2017. No reply. Then in the middle of June 2018, I received an email from Karen Boss at Charlesbridge asking me if the manuscript was still available. YES, IT WAS! And I had just briefly met Karen two weeks beforehand at the NJSCBWI.”

ME: That’s amazing, Ann…and it just goes to show that:

  1. Retreats and conferences can be worth their weight in gold because we get an opportunity to chat one-on-one with editors…and this can help make that all important connection that is the difference between them rereading your manuscript or the next one in their pile.
  2. NEVER GIVE UP! Even if you don’t hear for a long time, your project may be under consideration. It is perfectly okay to send a polite email if it’s been several months…you can always say you are following up to make sure that the manuscript did not get misdelivered or lost in the cyberspace.

And the illustrator is a powerhouse creative also – here’s a bit about her:

Nicole Wong has illustrated many books for children including Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin; To The Stars!: The First American Woman to Walk in Space, and No Monkeys, No Chocolate.


And I’m sure we will be seeing lots more of Ann and Nicole as we get closer to launch day!

Thank you, dear readers, for spending your precious moments here on my blog. It means the world to me. I hope you all have a beautiful week – and stay safe and well.

22 thoughts on “COVER REVEAL: Branches of Hope – The 9/11 Survivor Tree

    • Thanks, Kim. I hope the book finds its way into first responders’ hands as well as those touched by this tragedy. I hope it gives comfort to those who need it.


    • Thanks—I know as a parent I wish I had known this true story at the time of the tragedy in order to help my children understand better, to help give them hope.


  1. Thanks for the kind word, Mary. The tree’s story is told in words and a secondary story of a first responder family experiencing the events is told in the illustrations. I love how it turned out!


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