The Blue Spruce
An inspiring story of determination, hard work, and belief in your dreams until you capture them. Former Governor Mario Cuomo shares this endearing life lesson passed down to him from his father. Papa told Mario that having a house with a yard and a tree to call our own was his very special dream. Papa was excited about moving his family to their new home, after leaving behind their grocery store for many years, and sharing his dream with them. Papa and Mario loved the magnificent Blue Spruce that grew in the front yard of their new home, often sharing quiet moments in its cool shadow. Each year the Blue Spruce grew taller and stronger, holding within its branches their secrets and dreams. Then, one evening, unusually strong winds began to blow as dark clouds filled the sky. Mario watched anxiously through the window as the Blue Spruce fought against the winds... The Blue Spruce is a story that children will love and parents will love reading. Wonderfully illustrated by Royal Academy of Arts trained Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, illustrator of the bestselling The Legend of Sleeping Bear and The Legend of Mackinac Island.
- National Arbor Day Foundation Award
Author: Mario Cuomo
The son of immigrants from rural Italy, Mario Cuomo could barely speak English when he began first grade in the New York City public schools. He went on to become a lawyer, was appointed secretary of state for New York, and eventually was elected its governor. He served as governor for 12 years, after which he returned to private law practice.
Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen was born in the Netherlands in 1951. With his seven brothers and sisters, he grew up exploring nature and his sketch pads were filled with observations from those family outings. Always drawing as a young boy, his father encouraged Gijsbert to make art his career. After high school, he attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Arnhem, Holland. Gijsbert, or "Mr. Nick" as many children affectionately call him during his school visits, immigrated to the United States in 1976 and worked as Art Director for the Michigan Natural Resources Magazine for 17 years. In 1995, he illustrated his first children's book, The Legend of Sleeping Bear, finally fullfilling his dream of illustrating children's books.Residing in Bath, Michigan, Nick and his family share their 40-acre farm with sheep, horses, dogs, cats, turkeys, rabbits, chickens, pigeons and a revolving door of orphaned and injured wild life. The family's nature journals logged 20 years of wild life rehabilitation on the farm and it is through these journals that the popular Hazel Ridge series was created. The farm, the land and the animals make great subjects for the artist to paint. Mr. Nick travels to schools and conferences to share his passion for drawing—encouraging kids to make their hobby their career.