The Wattle Tree has been in shops for a fortnight now, and to celebrate Ben Wood and I launched it at Shearer’s Bookshop in Leichhardt. We could not have asked for a better night.

There were friends and family, champagne and scones, and lots of children from the local primary school. Reading the book out loud to them was a very special experience.

Margaret Hamilton opened the night with a beautiful speech about the special qualities of picture books. She was followed by one of our editors at Hachette, Kate Ballard, and Ben with some recollections of his own grandmother.

We’d like to thank Barbara and Tony at Shearer’s for all their encouragement and support. You can read more about the evening on their blog.

Already The Wattle Tree has received some lovely reviews. On the ReadPlus website, Fran Knight writes:

“A gentle story of acceptance and love within the family, the book is companionable and tender, as the two grieving family members find a way to remember together. And this gentleness is reflected beautifully by the soft and charming illustrations.”

On the Boomerang Books Blog, Tania McCartney describes it as a “heartfelt, sweet book” before praising Ben’s illustrations:

“Beautifully warm, pastelly illustrations by Ben Wood perfectly convey the tender emotion of this book – illustrations that are firmly carving this artist a place in the beloved Australian children’s book niche.”

Ben and I are both so excited by the response The Wattle Tree is generating – and grateful for everyone’s support.