Tree of Light

A Sweet Story with Simple Mindfulness Strategies to Help Kids (and Adults) Relax, Feel Positive, Overcome Challenges, and Shine their Light

Children - Picture Book
40 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

There are times when life can be scary and even painful and we just don’t know what to do. Aaa’Lee felt that way many times. Starting as a tiny seed, cast in the wind, spinning out of control, she called out to her Momma tree, claiming she didn’t know what to do. Momma responded, “Look within to help you find the answers.” Momma’s other words of wisdom also helped: “Remember to shine your light.” Every time something different and frightening happened, Aaa’Lee remembered her mother’s words. As she grew, she shone her light from deep within. When she felt broken and hurt, she learned to forgive. Breathing in and out, she was able to shine her light through all kinds of challenges. After all, that’s what life is about.

J.Y. Reinfeld’s picture book story, Tree of Light, is a gem. Following the tiny seed Aaa’Lee’s path through life, the young reader can easily relate to some of the challenges Aaa’Lee confronts. With beautiful illustrations, lots of onomatopoeia words, repeated key phrases to make a strong point, this story will both educate and entertain, as it helps young readers enhance their reading skills and learn how to cope in a positive way with anything that crosses their path. After all, it’s about that ever-powerful light that is within us all. At the end of the book, the author has provided a few story player activities, like finding the bees on every page. This is a beautiful story told with care and compassion. Tree of Light shines its own light from within.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Tree of Light by J. Y. Reinfeld is a meaningful children’s story. Aaa’Lee, a tiny seed, flies and twirls in the wind. She is confused; Aaa’Lee has never been separated from her momma tree’s care. Momma tree calls out to Aaa’Lee as she floats away, “remember to shine your light.” Aaa’Lee falls to the ground and over time begins to sprout, and then grow into a tree. As she grows, she remembers her momma tree’s words. The more light she beamed, the more light she felt and experienced. One day, a bird lands on her tender limb. Indigo is too heavy and her branch bends. Afterward, Aaa’Lee becomes fearful of Indigo, and she tenses up every time the bird comes near. Aaa’Lee remembers to look within; she knows what she must do. She breathes and sends light into the broken branch. But, most of all Aaa’Lee realizes she needs to forgive Indigo. Both the broken branch and broken relationship are restored by the light of love within Aaa’Lee. From this point on, Aaa’Lee and Indigo begin a lifelong friendship. Through every season and storm of life, their friendship grows.

J. Y. Reinfeld pens a beautiful allegorical portrait of the life cycle in her children’s picture book, Tree of Light. This sweet, yet insightful story causes readers young and old to look to the light within us for help and guidance. The story communicates well on a child’s level of understanding; it is thematically clear and full of meaning. The colorful illustrations harmonize and support the text wonderfully. The personification of the tiny seed makes Aaa’Lee’s character relatable to a young child’s heart of reason. The exploration into the life cycle of the seed promotes growth through kindness, forgiveness, and shining our best qualities into the world. J. Y. Reinfeld’s Tree of Light is a journey of discovery that honestly reveals life is not always easy. Sometimes we are sad, other times we are happy. Sometimes life hurts, and we become afraid and confused. Yet, within us is an inner strength, a light that outshines darkness. “Remember to shine your light.”

Asher Syed

Tree of Light by J. Y. Reinfeld is a children's picture book that weaves a story around a young seedling and her release into the world. The book begins with a momma tree telling tiny little Aaa'Lee to “Remember to shine your light” immediately before the baby seedling is separated from her momma. She was naturally unsure and felt unprepared, to which her momma assures her that she has the answers inside of her in the last moments they are together. Still unsure, following a hitchhike on another sentient creature, Aaa'Lee lands on a soft earthen bed and falls asleep until she begins to sprout. Confused once more, Aaa'Lee remembers what her momma said and focuses all her energy on taking in and exuding light. This internal source carries the power to heal, the power to care, and the power to contribute to those around her in ways she never knew possible.

It's always incredibly impressive when a children's book is written and illustrated by the same person. Writing a narrative that is engaging to an audience who require all the patience of a momma and Aaa'Lee is an accomplishment of its own, but when the addition of art comes into play, it just really feels like a whole piece of one person is shared with us, the reader. Tree of Light by J. Y. Reinfeld delivers this with a wonderful message on how we are all interconnected, how to find comfort and calm while maintaining our positivity as we patiently address the next challenge. The relationship between Aaa'Lee and a bird named Indigo also offers the promise of better and more sustainable connections when we exercise forgiveness, even in light of unintentional pain that's been caused. This is a simple, straightforward book with a lot of heart and I am so pleased to have read it.