Dear Baobab

Dear Baobab


Written by Cheryl Foggo and Illustrated by Qin Leng


Maiko knows what it is like to be small and to feel planted in the wrong place... 

Maiko has left his village in Africa far behind, moving to North America to live with his aunt and uncle. When he thinks of home, he thinks of the beautiful big baobab tree at the center of the village. In his new home, Maiko feels a connection to the small spruce tree in the front yard – it’s seven years old, the same age as he is. The tree sings to Maiko and shares his secrets. When he learns that the roots of the tree are growing too close to the house, putting the little spruce in danger of being cut down, Maiko tries to save it. He knows all too well what it’s like to be small, and planted in the wrong place.

While Maiko tries to keep his sadness to himself, his aunt and uncle quickly realize that something is wrong. Together, they work out a solution that saves the tree, seeing it transported to a new forest. Just like Maiko, his tree will learn to grow and thrive in its new home.

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About the Author

Cheryl Foggo is a journalist, screenwriter, poet, and playwright. She has a particular interest in the history of Black pioneers on the prairies and has written extensively on that subject in books, magazines, and anthologies. She lives in Calgary.

About the Illustrator

Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China and lived in France before moving to Montreal. She always loved to illustrate the innocence of children and has developed a passion for children’s books. She now works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto.

Product Information

  • Release: September 1, 2011

  • $15.95 Hardcover with Jacket

  • 24 Pages

  • 8.5 x 8.5

  • Children’s Picture Book

  • Ages 6-8 / Grades 2-4

  • Guided Reading: N

  • ISBN: 9781897187913


  • Character Education
    > Empathy
    > Family & Friendship
    > Self-Esteem

  • Reflecting Diversity
    > Cultural & Ethnic Diversity

  • Diaspora & Immigration


Praise for Dear Baobab

"Dear Baobab is a charming read that, without being too syrupy-sweet, offers encouragement to anyone who has ever felt they are in the wrong place.... The conversations between Maiko and the tree are particularly superb, capturing the charm and innocence expected of any seven-year-old, but containing the ache of someone who longs for the past." - Quill & Quire

"Maiko experiences an orphan’s loneliness and an immigrant’s unease but eventually finds comfort in his new home." - Kirkus Reviews

"Foggo's lyrical text is perfect for reading aloud, and certain expressions nearly turn the story into poetry... Maiko's story is simple and buoyant and will appeal to a wide range of children." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. It is suitable for both individual readers and for story time." - Resource Links

"This sweetly illustrated picture book is the story of a small boy’s struggle to develop a sense of belonging in a new country. All primary aged children can relate to his vulnerability and to the many emotions expressed in Maiko’s story, making it an ideal venue for teaching the concept of making connections." - Canadian Teacher Magazine

"Calgarian Cheryl Foggo's impressive writing credentials foretold the jewel of Dear Baobab, her first children's picture book, a sympathetic but hopeful portrayal of finding a way to fit it." - CanLit for Little Canadians