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English translation available (for publishers only)

The Heart-Shaped Leaf

In Shira Geffen`s beautiful story, not only human beings have a heart, but trees do too; and if the heart symbolizes emotion, then trees, too, must have emotions. Alona finds this out one autumn day when she comes home from kindergarten. She sits down under a tree and eats an apple that her mother gave her. With each bite, a leaf falls off the tree. One of the leaves is different from the others. It is an enchanted, heart-shaped leaf, and it drops onto Alona`s head and clings to her braid. Perhaps it`s because of the leaf that Alona doesn`t get wet when it starts raining. She arrives home completely dry.

Her father, who is waiting for her, plucks the leaf out of her braid and serves her a bowl of lentil soup. The soup is boiling hot and it is still hot several hours later. Does the enchanted leaf have anything to do with it? Alona is hungry and a little upset, but then she gazes into the bowl of soup and sees a tree reflected there. “If you want to drink your soup, give me back my leaf,” says the tree, and tells her that the leaf is its heart, a heart in the shape of a leaf. How is she going to give it back? Very simple: Alona must stand at the window and blow on the heart-shaped leaf, and it will find its way back to where it belongs. Alona does what the tree told her to do, blows on the heart, and it floats up and disappears. “Thank you,” says the tree, which is still reflected in the soup. Alona takes a spoonful of soup. How tasty it is!

Arabic, English, Spanish, Swedish
Title The Heart-Shaped Leaf
Writer's Last Name Geffen
Writer's First Name Shira
Genre Children
Ages 3-6
Illustrations David Polonsky
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
No. Pages 24pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Al Aleh Ve-Al Alona
  • “The cover of the new children’s book, The Heart-Shaped Leaf, catches the eye with its beauty … It is truly captivating. Also inside the book, the illustrations by David Polonsky are sublime. They contain a precise mixture of something that is nearby and familiar and that arouses identification, with something remote and alien, European and cold, intriguing like a fairytale … In The Heart-Shaped Leaf there is beauty, gentleness and delicacy.”

    Ruta Kupfer, Haaretz
  • “Unlike most children’s books, in Geffen you’ll find no strict moral or penny philosophy. An associative train of thought, in language as children speak it, touching upon the contemporary nuclear family, which has lost its familiar structure, and remarkable illustrations by David Polonsky, make Geffen’s words into a captivating work of art.”

    Merav Yudilevich, Ynet
  • “Magical and poetic … Penetrates the heart and wipes away the aches. This is a book of reflections, a kind of journey into the soul, which will provoke your kids too to think about themselves and their surroundings … Superb.”