Children and parents are invited to attend a free event at Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, on Monday, November 13, at 4:30pm. Come to the cherry tree in the laneway behind the house, where author Joy Kogawa will read from her children’s picture book Naomi’s Tree. Yummy refreshments and hot drinks will be served (under a dry canopy if it rains). All are welcome! This event is held with funding support from a Vancouver Foundation Greenest City Fund.

The Story of Kogawa Cherry Tree

A young couple leaves Japan for the coast of Canada, bringing a cherry seed to plant in their new garden. During the years that follow, the little cherry tree watches over the family as the couple have children, and then grandchildren. Young Naomi makes the cherry tree her special friend, and the tree’s branches shelter her as she plays. But one day, war breaks out between the two countries, and the family is sent to an internment camp away from the coast. And though Naomi often dreams of going home, the dream fades as the years go by. The little tree is left behind to mourn its loss.

For many years the cherry tree sends out a song of love and peace that reaches Naomi only in her dreams. But the insects and small animals hear the song, and on the wind they send back their own messages to the tree, assuring it that Naomi is safe and that one day she will return. And when she does, the tree will be waiting for her.

Based on the World War II story of Naomi and Stephen in the children’s novel Naomi’s Road by Joy Kogawa, the children’s picture book Naomi’s Tree is a poetic story about enduring love and its almost mystical power to heal the spirit.

This is the cherry tree that inspired the children’s book Naomi’s Tree. It grows just outside the childhood home of the book’s author, Joy Kogawa, and welcomes visitors to touch its rough bark and connect to this story of friendship and peace.