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Eliza's Cherry Trees: Japan's Gift to Americaby Andrea Zimmerman
Synopses & Reviews
The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. is held annually in remembrance of the first cherry tree planting on March 27, 1912. Now an international symbol of peace and friendship, the trees first came to the nation's capital from Tokyo, Japan, at the insistence of Eliza Scidmore.Able to live a life different from most women in the late 1800s, Scidmore was dedicated to her ideas. She had the opportunity to travel with family and friends and wrote the first guidebook about Alaska while there on a trip. Wanting to share her adventures with others, she became the first woman to write for the National Geographic Society. But throughout her travels, she never forgot about the Japanese cherry trees she had seen while visiting her brother in Tokyo. It took her more than twenty years, but with the help of the president's wife, Mrs. Taft; a Japanese scientist; and a lot of faith, Scidmore's dream of beautifying her hometown came true.
"This biography centers on Eliza Scidmore, whose world travels and appreciation for Japanese gardens led her on a campaign to have cherry trees planted in Washington, D.C., in 1912. In a story about maintaining persistence despite rejection, Zimmerman (Digger Man) emphasizes Scidmore's refusal to give up on her 'good idea,' though each new head of the parks department dismisses it; when First Lady Taft finally embraces Scidmore's plan, the first shipment of trees are infested with bugs and must be burned. Finally, 3,000 healthy cherry trees arrive, and the first two trees are planted in Potomac Park in a modest ceremony. Chen's (The Jade Stone) illustrations merge hints of 19th-century impressionism with dynamic color combinations and hazy representations of the adventurous subject's photography. Though Zimmerman's sentences don't demonstrate much variation in cadence — 'Eliza wanted to keep traveling, so she had to find a way. After college, Eliza started writing articles for the newspaper. She worked hard and made good money' — Scidmore's tender story points to the rewards of investing in aesthetic beauty. Ages 4 — 8. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Pioneering world traveler, writer, photographer, and peace advocate Eliza Scidmore dreamed of beautifying the nation's capital, where she lived. Her dream became a reality in 1912 when, because of her years of persistence, cherry trees were planted across Washington, DC. This picture book for young readers tells the inspiring story.
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