Ayisha Malik and Erika Meza
Lola, Esher, Ayla, Zoha, Zayna, Amelia and Saffah all live in the Forest of Tremendous Trees. Each of them lives in a tree and despite being sisters, they’re very different characters with very different interests. Zayna is a writer, Lola is an artist, Saffah is the musical one, shy Ayla has a technological mind, Amelia loves gymnastics, Zoha particularly enjoys the natural world and Esher is an inventor. Despite being so different, they get along well largely because they have their own spaces wherein to hone their talents.
Suddenly one day they sense change is afoot and lo and behold a large tree appears before them and continues growing becoming the most beautiful in the entire forest.
That night the girls retire to their beds each thinking of the house they could build in the new tree.
Inevitably next morning they all make their way to the tree where each of them puts forward a case for ownership.
Arguments ensue and things get chaotic until they decide the only way to solve the issue is to hold a competition with their beloved aunt as judge.
Despite her reservations the competition is scheduled for the following day but none of them had expected the storm that blows up just as they arrive. Time to take refuge … together.
Could this perhaps be the best learning opportunity that nature could offer the seven sisters?
Read solo or read aloud: there are lessons aplenty in this engaging story that celebrates individual differences, creativity and the joys of community. Having recently enjoyed Ayisha’s adult novel This Green and Pleasant Land I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she also writes for children. Erika Mesa’s mixed media illustrations are wonderfully expressive, full of life and really bring out the girls differing personalities.