tree cover

latest news

Welcome to the website of writer Jeff Gottesfeld, which is consistently under construction.

Latest news: It's January of 2016, which means that my first picture book is just weeks from publication. It is THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD, from Knoph, and illustrated by the celebrated and talented Peter McCarty. At a time when fiece debate rages about the best way to introduce children to difficult stories, this life-affirming telling of Anne Frank's story from the perspective of the majestic horse chestnut tree in the courtyard behind the Secret Annexe is the perfect introduction to one of the most trying and emotional times of human history.

The tree in the courtyard lived for 172 years.
She was a horse chestnut. Her leaves were green stars; her flowers
foaming cones of white and pink.

Anne references the tree three times in her diary. The tree survived until it came down in a storm in 2010. Then, scientists managed to spout some of its seed pods, and graft seedlings from the shattered trunk. These have now been planted all over the world. There are Anne Frank trees, as these trees are known, at 11 American locations including Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas; Capitol Hill; the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and the Southern Cayuga School District in Aurora, New York, home of the Harriet Tubman home and the Women's Rights National Historic Park. There are more Anne Frank trees around the world.

Of the book, Booklist said in a starred review appearing in early February:

"With subtlety, Gottesfeld tells Anne Frank's story from the perspective of the glorious horse chestnut tree that grew outside Anne's father's factory and stretched up to the annex atticf where her family and others were hidden. Given the narrative's point of view, the most disturbing details of WWII and the Holocaust are not elaborated on, maintaining a gentle detachment that makes the dramatic episode appropriate fort the youngest of students....Haunting and deeeply affecting, this take on Anne Frank's iconic story will be one readers won't easily forget." -- Jeanne McDermott

More news about THE TREE...soon. If you'd like to read the starred review from Booklist, follow this link:

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