Free to Grow

I always know when a book has struck my heart when I can hear my own voice reading the story in my head as I make my way through the pages. “Free to Grow” is such a book. Initially written by a wife to her husband to help him to understand her need for space, this gentle tale becomes an allegorical delight for children on the cusp of independence as well as parents on the verge of letting go. With the delightfully simple drawings of retro-artist Lenore Shaffer Koppelman, the story of a seedlings struggle to grow to its full potential is presented in very gradual steps, each page holding but a single thought. The respect that the author gives to both the old trees and the young sapling will help the reader understand the motives of the sheltering arms of the mature and the growing needs of the young. In the beginning the small tree felt safe and sheltered by the branches of dense leaves that drooped over its little limbs. But eventually those thick branches became its limitations and as the little tree struggles to tell the big trees of its own needs, the reader finds herself in familiar territory. As both a teen who struggled to find her own way and a parent who has already had to let three adult children go free, I appreciated the way in which the author was able to make the traumatic event seem like a seamless part of life. I recommend that this book be purchased and kept in your home library, as there will be times when you and your children, together or in solitude, will need to curl up in a chair and let this story guide you through the journey we all must take.

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