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    An allegorical tale of hope takes on new life in this stirring, gorgeously illustrated story.

    On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding on with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life — and a chance to change the world, for good. Here is the story of a magical discovery that will touch the heart and imagination of every reader, young and old. In an exciting collaboration, author Nicola Davies joins forces with illustrator Laura Carlin to create a contemporary tale inspired by Jean Giono’s 1953 story, L’homme qui plantait des arbres.
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    From School Library Journal

    K-Gr 4—This contemporary retelling of Jean Giono"s L"homme qui plantait des arbres begins on the mean streets of a city, depicted in muted browns and dismal grays. The character admits to stealing from people. When she targets what she perceives to be a frail old woman, her life changes. The old lady gives the thief her purse, which is filled with acorns, and the girl realizes that she has made a promise to plant them all. She keeps her word and plants them everywhere in the gritty, ugly city, 'among rubble, ruins, and rusty railings.' As trees slowly start to grow, the people begin to smile, and they plant flowers, fruits, and vegetables 'in parks and gardens, on balconies and rooftops.' The illustrations turn to glorious full color as the world becomes a better place. The endpapers reflect the change from a sad story at the beginning to the positive, life-changing event at the end. A thoughtful book, told with simplicity, with a poignant message.—Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN

    From Booklist

    *Starred Review* A girl, with no name and of no particular age, describes a place as gritty as its people are hard: When I was young, I lived in a city that was mean and hard and ugly. She lives by stealing, and one day, she wrestles with an old woman for her bag, which the lady finally lets go of, with a condition: If you promise to plant them. Though the girl dreams of money, what she finds in the pack are acorns. But now she understands the promise: I held a forest in my hand. So she plants, trees start to grow, and people come around to touch them and talk and form a community. Inspired by Jean Giono’s 1953 story, L’homme qui plantait des arbres, this sturdy tale is made even more emphatic by Davies’ terse writing style. The text is heightened in every way by Carlin’s outstanding mixed-media artwork. Making use of unexpected perspectives, the evocative pictures capture the early sense of isolation in dull colors and stark strokes. As the neighborhood blossoms—and when the narrator travels across the continents spreading her message and planting trees—so does the artwork. Bright hues and plenty of greenery enliven the pages and lift the spirits. Lots to look at, think about, and discuss here. Grades 3-6. --Ilene Cooper
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  • Laura Carlin
  • Laura lives and works in London. She graduated from Buckinghamshire University and the Royal College of Art, where she received a Masters and won the Quentin Blake Award. During her MA she was also awarded the Uniqlo Fashion Illustration Award, which enabled her to travel to Shanghai and Tokyo. The drawings from her Tokyo trip were published in a book entitled Ten Days in Tokyo.

    Laura has illustrated many children’s books for Walker Books, including The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, winning a V&A Award and an honourable mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award. In November 2014 another Walker Books title illustrated by Laura ‘The Promise’ was selected by The New York Times as the best illustrated title of 2014. For The Folio Society Laura has illustrated four collections of Anton Chekov stories and Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain Fournier. She illustrates a weekly column in the Financial Times as well as being a regular contributor to Condé Nast Traveller, The New York Times, The Guardian and The New Statesman. She has worked on advertising campaigns for American Express and British Airways as well an identity for The Dorchester’s Coworth Park Hotel.

    In addition to her commercial work, Laura currently works with Quentin Blake in advisory role for the development of the House of Illustration.

    Laura has been voted, by the Art Director’s Club of America an ADC Young Gun, one of the 50 most influential creatives under 30 years of age.

    Alongside her illustration career, Laura also works as a ceramist. Her work is for sale at The New Craftsman and Yorkshire Sculpture Park as well at privately hosted sales.

    In October 2014 her book A World of Your Own was published by Phaidon, her first work as an author. Using a gentle chronological narrative of one day, the book encourages looking, drawing and making – initially from life and then from imagination.
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  • Nicola Davies
  • Nicola Davies is the award-winning author of The Promise, also illustrated by Laura Carlin, which received a special honorable mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award fiction category. Nicola Davies's many books for children include Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature, Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear, and Big Blue Whale. She lives in Wales. 

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