Reading with Wendy

Gazing out at a sea of faces at the Book Lounge on Saturday 30 July 2016, I couldn’t help but feel a tingle of excitement. This was the moment that I had been keenly anticipating – for almost two years! – finally having The Lemon Tree published. It was incredibly special to have the warm reassurance of so many friends, both new and old, as well as my family there. To everyone who came, a thousand thank you’s! I hope you enjoyed the reading, Wendy’s drawing lesson and the cake afterwards. And for those of you who showed your support through your messages and encouraging words, I am likewise forever grateful.

Here’s what the reviewers are saying:

se7en tribe with Wendy and me

This is the story of a typical South African home on a rainy day… and Gogo (granny) calls the children, who are dancing outdoors in the refreshing rain, to come inside and make pancakes. Turns out it takes a village to make a plate of pancakes. First they discover that they have no flour, so they take some fresh lemons to the neighbour as a gift. Of course the neighbour asks terribly politely, if there is anything they would like in exchange for the gift, and so the children return home with some flour… and then they need eggs, and milk as well… and (spoiler alert) by the time they have shared their lemons with the neighbours and received the necessary flour, eggs and milk, they realise that they don’t have any lemons left to have with their sugar and cinnamon pancakes. The story is delightful, and the illustrations have a very magical feel to them, bright and busy… there is lots to look at, to keep children of all ages lingering a little longer on each page. It is so good to discover a story that includes so much of our local culture. In order to develop a cultural literacy, children surely need to be immersed in books from their own culture. I love that the book doesn’t have, what is often a not so secretly hidden “educational” agenda… it is a good story and a fun story and one that will enhance the joy of reading for many, many children. –

The audience

‘How often do we read about bluebells and foxes and beavers to our children instead of things that are familiar to them?’ says author Katherine Graham. Her latest book, The Lemon Tree, is a really sweet story about making pancakes with Gogo with beautiful illustrations by Wendy Paterson. Our family loved being at the launch of The Lemon Tree at The Book Lounge
last month and I listed it as one of my ‘Best Buys for my Black Kids – Heart Mamas’ Guide for Adoptive Families.’ I was freshly reminded that representations matters when Kira looked at the cover pic and said, ‘Mom, that’s me!’. We also have a little lemon tree in our garden that has started bearing fruit and so I think it’s time for pancakes… –