Aspen’s Roots – Connecting with the Next Generation
The newly released children’s picture book, Aspen’s Roots is receiving rave reviews with the public in general; however, it should especially resonate with the genealogy community. Author, Paul Sullivan, wrote this allegory, based on the science of aspen tree growth, to help his own grandchildren identity with and connect to the past generations that have quietly contributed to their wellbeing. The main character of this story, beautifully illustrated with acrylics on canvas, is a young sapling that is living a carefree life amidst the wonders of nature, unaware of the extensive contributions made by her extended family to soil, roots and her genetics. Through the quiet time of winter, young Aspen learns to feel beyond herself. She discovers that it’s what’s below the surface that really makes us strong. “I’m not alone, it’s not just me, I’m part of a family, a big family tree.”
Unlike most of the children’s books out there whose sole purpose is to entertain, Aspen’s Roots teaches important principles for building good moral character. Following the rhyming text of the story is an aspen-themed family roots blank, complete with worms and ants, ready for the reader to fill in with names of four generations.
While Aspen’s Roots is primarily a children’s book, like many of the old classics, the poem transcends generations and has a poignant message for young and old alike. Aspen’s Roots would be a perfect gift to show appreciation for those of previous generations who have had an impact on your life. As a grandparent you may want to personalize a copy for your grandchildren by filling in the names on their four-generation chart. As James Tanner (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com) put it: “As genealogists we are currently concerned about reaching out to younger people and including them in our passion for our families’ history. This is the type of outreach that I think is most effective to get young people thinking about their own relationship to their ancestors.”
To get a peek inside Aspen’s Roots visit www.aspensroots.com. In addition to this website and the retailers listed, it is also on Amazon.com.