The Gingko Tree
The Gingko tree on the book cover represents the three main healthy self-esteem building themes of the story:
a. The roots of the tree represent the foundation and the “village elders” from which we grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.
b. The tree trunk represents our parents, family members, friends, teachers and mentors who we all lean on for support depending on the circumstances.
c. The leaves of the Gingko tree grow in leaflet clusters, like a community. The branches of leaf clusters grow upward and represent the youth in all of us, reaching for new knowledge with balance and guidance from the roots and solid support from the trunk.
The Gingko tree is one of the oldest specie of tree. It is over 2,500 years old, and the Chinese culture considers the Gingko to be a tree of great distinction and dignity. It also is an ancient Chinese emblem of longevity and survival, which are two wishes we have for our loved ones and others who must deal with never-ending daily challenges of diabetes management. It is respected as a loyal and historic soul, as are the village elders in the story.
The Gingko tree is historically known as the Grandfather-Grandson tree. Only the old trees bear seeds, so it is the grandson of the planter, who benefits from the precious “silver apricots” of the tree. That is very meaningful, because the roots of the story were planted by Sheila‘s father, who had Type 2 Diabetes and was the inspiration for King Alexander in her story; and her elder son, Joshua, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was fifteen, will benefit from the fruits of his mother’s story.
What distinguishes a fairy tales from other stories, is the fact that it speaks to the very heart and soul of the child within all of us. I believe that everyone can relate to this fairy tale. Princess Shayna’s story confirms that life can present difficulties, but with good self-esteem and a loving and supportive community environment we all can develop the courage to meet life’s obstacles and turn them into opportunities, just as Princess Shayna does.
The story also acknowledges a significant fact, that no one is perfect, not even a princess. That message is especially important to the children and their families who have face the diabetes management challenges in their lives.
10% of royalties from the sale of Sheila's books is allocated to the Raue Center for the Arts Educational Programs.