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Bayfield author releases second children's book

The Mango Tree is story of personal growth

Bayfield author Brooke Smith has published her second children's book, The Mango Tree.

"Kids are loving it," she said. "And their parents and teachers. I'm getting some really great feedback."

Smith has been reading the book for several classes at Bayfield Elementary School. She also will sell copies at this summer's Bayfield Block Parties, along with OzFest on June 23 in Joe Stephenson Park.

The Mango Tree also can be purchased at Bayberry Market, Maria's Bookshop in Durango, and online at https://www.amazon.com/Brooke-Smith.

Her readings include a craft activity where kids create a mango tree by painting their hands brown and stamping it on paper to create the tree's root system, then orange thumbprints become the mangoes.

Creating the picture "provides more interaction with kids," she said. "I get to talk with them about their own passions, and try to inspire them to do those things. I tell them, 'You can do this, too.' It's doesn't have to be writing."

The book is illustrated by Tania Gomes, and Smith said the children at her readings pointed out there is a small smiley face on each page created by paintings of small flowers, something she hadn't notice while she was proofing the book.

The book is about a mango fruit that slowly grows into a tree.

"It's about just growing in the word you happen to be in, and not fighting it, just blossoming," she said.

Sometimes the tree feels lonely, and she talks with children about loneliness, as well. She also explains the theory of personification to them.

"I really like the conversations," she said. "They love to participate." At a recent reading in Becky Malecki's fourth-grade class at Bayfield Elementary School, children asked why she chose to write about mangoes.

Smith replied she used to live in Hawaii, where a mango tree grew outside her home. She actually started the book about 10 years ago, then she would put it away, take it out, and edit it. She is working on her third book now, The Tortoise and the Flair. Her first book, Brinley Discovers Santa, was published in 2015.

Smith also will read her book on June 30 at the Pine River Public Library as part of the summer reading program.

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