Last November, shortly after receiving the paperback version of the Jane Addams award-winning The Mangrove Tree, Susan Roth received an unexpected email. It was from Fathima Toprawalla, who has been a director of a Montessori preschool in Calgary, Canada for the last six years. Last year Fathima decided to create a brand-new preschool with the intention that each student would be able to grow a plant or tree of his or her own. And her special wish was to name her new school The Mangrove Tree Preschool, for the book that she found inspirational for herself as well as for her young students.
As soon as Lee and Low granted the permission to use the name, Fathima moved ahead with her plans. The school location in Calgary has been chosen and secured. The school’s website has been created and its opening season has been designated for this September.
Everyone involved wishes that Gordon Sato were still here to enjoy this honor, but Gordon’s work will continue to be celebrated in Fathima’s school. Fathima has invited Susan to present a collage workshop at The Mangrove Tree Preschool in the fall. Susan is already imagining the Mangrove Tree forests of collages that Fathima’s students will create, decorating the walls in their brand new classroom.
Susan L. Roth is an author and illustrator who creates unique mixed-media collage illustrations that have appeared in numerous award-winning children’s books, many of which she also wrote. The Mangrove Tree, which was released in 2011 and addressed Dr. Gordon Sato’s mangrove tree-planting project, was the winner of Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Roth lives in New York. You can find her online at susanlroth.com.