With deep roots in New England, I grew up in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. I had (still do!) a twin sister named Lee. We were quite different: she was outgoing and sociable, while I was shy and liked to do things by myself. We fought a bit as kids--but we're great friends today. Our dad, a professor of English at Northeastern University in Boston, often invited students to our home. Being part of the Northeastern community was a big part of our lives. Our mom, a home economics teacher, made our clothes and excellent pies. We were lucky kids.
I always liked writing--for school newspapers, contests, even term papers. Later, as I read books to my children I thought, I can do this, too! Again I was lucky. I didn't work at a job-outside-the-home while my kids were growing up, as my husband had a steady job teaching at Indiana University and was interested in my writing. Although I couldn't have the career I had wished for earlier--working for an organization that would help people in developing countries--I used my education and interests to become a children's author.
The house next door to Sameer’s had been empty for as long as he could remember. The family had gone away when the war began. But now they were back, and he was ready to have fun with his new playmate. Together they could climb the big olive tree that overlooked both their gardens, and eat the delicious olives it produced. The only problem was that Muna, the little girl next door, didn’t want to play and she didn’t want to share the olives. She said they belonged to her family alone—that is, until one fateful night when lightning struck the tree.
Poignantly told by award-winning author Elsa Marston and with beautiful paintings from award-winning illustrator Claire Ewart, The Olive Tree follows two children as they learn to share and work together by looking past their differences. It shows young readers that compassion and understanding lie at the heart of all friendships.