cover image The Wishing Tree

The Wishing Tree

Meika Hashimoto, illus. by Xindi Yan. HarperCollins, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-274716-7

After realizing his town is devoid of Christmas spirit three days before the holiday, Theo, a Black child with dark curls, writes down “just one wish” to Santa. As he sleeps, the letter journeys “across frozen seas/ and stormy deserts” before reaching the North Pole. The next morning, a mysterious great pine labeled “Property of the North Pole” drops a response letter into Theo’s hands saying “bring joy,” setting off a chain of cheer-bringing events with Theo at the center as he partakes in traditional Christmas activities, such as hanging string lights and caroling with his neighbors. Yan’s sweeping digital brushstrokes, depicting a township of varying ages, abilities, body types, and skin tones, add an animation-like layer of depth and texture to Hashimoto’s lightly magical, community-centered tale. Back matter punch-out cards encourage readers to write their own wishes. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)