BLOG TOUR: Huwie the Apple Tree by Dolores Keaveney
Ten reasons why we love this book...
We're thrilled to be the first stop on the two-week blog tour for Huwie the Apple Tree by Dolores Keaveney. During lockdown last summer, Dolores wrote and illustrated this gorgeous book, which demonstrates how hope can blossom even in challenging times. Inspired by real events, this is about Huwie, a little boy who sows a tiny seed and is amazed as it transforms into a magnificent tree. Huwie is based on Dolores’ grandson, who planted and nurtured his own apple tree.
Huwie the Apple Tree is the second book that the Mullingar artist and author has published during the pandemic. Her previous title, Dee the Bee, was released by Starfish Bay last September. Dolores now has fifteen children’s books to her name, since independently publishing her debut, If I were a Bee, in 2009. Dolores’ stories have a timeless, classic quality and her work is often compared to that of Beatrix Potter, who was also a self-publishing pioneer.
Here are ten reasons why we love Huwie the Apple Tree:
1. It's by an Irish author and illustrator.
2. It's a simple story that will resonate with little readers.
3. It's based on actual events and readers can see a picture of the real Huwie and his tree at the end of the book.
4. It encourages children to connect with nature.
5. It's suitable from an early age as the rhyming text and use of black and white will appeal to babies and toddlers.
6. It's illustrated with striking, hand-painted watercolours throughout.
7. As Huwie is represented by a matchstick man, he is an inclusive character to whom all children can relate, regardless of their ethnic background.
8. The use of a matchstick man also promotes creativity by showing children that art doesn't have to be complicated.
9. It's an uplifting story which demonstrates how joy can spring from anything, and beauty can be found where we least expect it.
10. There's lots of potential for play-based activities and crafts inspired by the story. Children can make apple stamps, a hand-print or tissue and button apple trees, coffee-filter apples (these are stunning), or plant a tree from a fruit they have eaten, just like Huwie. Look out for more crafts with Dolores as part of Cruinniú na nÓg on 12th June.
When we spoke to Dolores about the book's hopeful message, she said, “I’m extremely optimistic in my outlook, and try to remain positive in every situation. As I was writing and illustrating Huwie the Apple Tree during a bleak period for planet earth, it was vital to create a life-affirming book. It’s important to create an awareness in children of the wonders that surround them. This story is a reminder that even in darker days, there is always delight to be found in nature.” With opportunities to promote her books in person limited by Covid-19 restrictions, Dolores embraced social media. Dolores has created several videos showcasing her work and collaborated with libraries all over Ireland on virtual events. Dolores’ latest video was filmed in Belvedere House, Mullingar, and will be released as part of Cruinniú na nÓg on 12th June. This is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme’s Creative Youth Plan to nurture the creative potential of children and young people. In this video, Dolores interviews beekeeper Jim Donohue about the Belvedere bees.
Dolores is the first Irish author to have a series of “story walks” based on her work. This involves laminated pages being attached to wooden stakes and installed along an outdoor path. As children stroll along the trail, they're directed to the next page of the story. Mountmellick Library designed a story walk for Dee the Bee last October, and Kerry Library is organising another in Tralee Park this summer. The tour for Huwie the Apple Tree takes place on Instagram until Friday 11th June; make
sure you visit all the stops to find out more about this fabulous book:
A huge thanks to Dolores for having us on this tour and for our gifted copy of this beautiful book - all opinions expressed are our own.