The Promise is a very simple story, with a very important message about our power to transform ourselves and the world around us.
It’s about a girl who plants trees all over the grey, broken city where she lives. Through taking action to change her environment, the girl is herself changed.
Part of the inspiration for the book came from another famous story, The Man Who Planted Trees written by French author Jean Giono and first published in 1953, sixty years before the publication of The Promise. It tells the story of Elzeard Bouffier, a French peasant who rejuvenates a whole landscape in a dry, deserted region of Southern France, by simply planting trees. It’s a fictional story but it had a huge impact across the globe, inspiring real tree planting and encapsulating the spirit of the emerging environmental movement.
The Promise was written to inspire a new generation of tree planters, because now more than ever we need trees – trees in cities to provide shade and inspiration, trees in forests to maintain biodiversity, trees everywhere to help soak up carbon dioxide.
Trees help us to reconnect with nature and to remember our place in the world. Planting a tree is a symbol of new beginnings and of a desire to make the future better than the present.
The message of the The Promise is a simple one, for children and for adults: push aside the mean and hard and ugly and plant, plant plant!
The Promise is the winner of the Fiction 7-11 years Award in the 2014 English 4-11 Picture Book Awards.