Telephone of the Tree (Hardcover)

Telephone of the Tree By Alison McGhee Cover Image
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An unforgettable story of grief and the support of community as a young girl, faced with aching loss, begins to understand that what we love will always be with us.

Ayla and her best friend Kiri have always been tree people. They each have their own special tree, and neighbors and family know that they are most likely to be found within the branches. But after an accident on their street, Kiri has gone somewhere so far away that Ayla can only wait and wait in her birch, longing to be able to talk with Kiri again.

Then a mysterious, old-fashioned telephone appears one morning, nestled in the limbs of Ayla's birch tree. Where did it come from? she wonders. And why are people showing up to use this phone to call their loved ones? Especially loved ones who have passed on.

All Ayla wants is for Kiri to come home. Until that day comes, she will keep Kiri's things safe. She'll keep her nightmares to herself. And she will not make a call on that telephone.

About the Author

Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of books for all ages in all forms, including What I Leave Behind, Shadow Baby, Firefly Hollow, and Someday. She is the recipient of many awards and grants, including the Geisel Medal, the Christopher Award, four Minnesota Book awards, and Minnesota State Arts Board and McKnight Foundation grants. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She grew up in upstate New York and lives in Minneapolis.

Praise For…

"Inspired by Itaru Sasaki’s phone booth in Japan, where people can symbolically call deceased loved ones, McGhee lays bare the powerful emotions entangled with loss while demonstrating the strength found in community." —Booklist

"McGhee injects a speculative twist to this tender tale about death and grief. Employing spare, sensory language, McGhee explores the painful negative space created by loss and the devastation of a friendship cutshort, as well as the healing found in moving forward while remembering that 'there’s more... so much more.'" —Publishers Weekly

“Rather than trot in a therapist or some other mouthpiece for wise counseling, the author gives her protagonist subtler (and more believably effective) help reaching that insight—most notably parents who give her space rather than unwanted advice, and her grandfather’s old telephone.  Readers feeling Ayla’s profound sense of loss will be relieved when she finds a way to live with it. Raw and sad but lit with occasional glints of humor and ending, as it should, on a rising note." —Kirkus, starred review

“The reveal that the phone was placed by Ayla’s grandpa who used it to “call” his wife after she passed is just one beautiful details in a story that focuses on generational healing rather than generational trauma. While more mature readers may quickly realize that Kiri has died, the novel’s hybrid of lyrically written plot fragments and stream of consciousness serve to poetically reveal the facts as Ayla becomes ready to process them." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593698457
ISBN-10: 0593698452
Publisher: Rocky Pond Books
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English