By: Michelle Tate

A child’s imagination can take them anywhere. They can invent the most original characters and create the most eventful scenes. That’s why I am always thrilled to find a book written by a child because they often tell some of the best stories. I wonder at what point, an adult’s mind gets so clogged with schedules, bills, and responsibilities that it forgets to be imaginative.

We happened upon a special book after our recent trip to the beach, so sandy beaches and palm trees were fresh in my kids’ minds. A book co-authored by a 7-year-old boy and his father combines a child’s love for pepperoni pizza and a fantasy of a new kind of tree. My own son was thrilled to learn that someone his age could write a book. This fact was very inspiring for him since he is just learning to read and write. Before even opening the book, I could see my son’s wheels turning at the new possibility that he too could write a story for others to read.

The Pepperoni Palm Tree is a great reminder to us all that anything is possible. Including a beach “someplace, somewhere” that the world’s one and only Pepperoni Palm Tree stands tall. A tree with the most “Deee-licious” pepperonis anyone has ever tasted, and one special friend named, Frederick.

This book, rich with descriptive words, vivid illustrations, a deep love for all things pepperoni, tells the story of how Frederick embarks on a lifelong quest to find another palm tree as “Deee-licious” as his palm tree friend. He searches high and low, but there is just none to be found.

Sticking with his adventure into adulthood, Frederick was the perfect example of a loyal companion, a determined explorer, and a creative entrepreneur. He reminds kids to stay true to themselves, even when everyone around them seems different. What a great life lesson to share with my kids! The palm tree remains tall, proud, and confident even when others are not kind, and are trying to make him doubt the value in his own uniqueness. Frederick’s loyalty encourages the palm tree to stay cheerful and proud, ignoring the negativity swirling around him.

Frederick made it his mission to let the world see how special the palm tree was, to show others that being the one and only of your kind IS what makes you special.

We all have our own insecurities about things that make us different, and the pepperoni palm tree is no exception. But Frederick teaches us the value of being different. Being different is what makes each of us special and our uniqueness should be celebrated. This book truly celebrates individuality and reminds us all to look for the good in others. Not only did Frederick and the palm tree continue to be kind to those that had mocked him, they included them in their success and happiness at the end.

This tale of loyalty and goal setting would make a terrific addition to any children’s bookshelf or classroom setting. As a former elementary teacher and a mom of littles, I see this book as a great tool to guide a child’s moral compass. It sends a very positive message to kids about looking past adversity and even ridicule from others.

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