Mr. T & The Poet’s Tree

  • Location
    San Francisco, California, California
  • Status
  • Age Level
    Any Age

The Problem

This project idea comes from 9 year-old Tyson, who is in the third grade. Tyson really enjoys plants and being outside in nature. He would like to have the experience of planting and caring for a real tree, in conjunction with a special book project that he will be working on with his grandmother. They will collaborate to write story of hope and compassion that involves the history of immigration to the United States through Angel Island. The mini-grant will help to purchase a cherry tree, soil and planter, as well as give Tyson some money to buy art supplies that he will need to create the illustrations for his storybook.

Our Plan

ArtsEd4All will help Tyson and his grandmother to document and share what he has learned with his family, friends and community. We will also learn about the history of cherry trees and the important contributions of Chinese immigrants to American agriculture. America’s most popular variety of cherries for eating are “Bing” cherries — which are named after Ah Bing, a Chinese foreman at Henderson Lewelling's farm in Oregon, who cared for the special row of the new variety of seedling cherry trees in 1875. Today there are over 1000 varieties of sweet cherries, but the Bing cherry is still tops both in popularity and production. Tyson and his Paw Paw (grandmother) are planning to work together to make a very special storybook. They will collaborate on writing the story and Tyson will illustrate. It will be very helpful for him to be able to observe a cherry tree closely in real life, as he makes the illustrations for his storybook. Their story is about a little boy who is sent, all on his own, to work in a family business. He crosses the ocean, leaving his home China to come to the United States, only to be confined in the Mook Ook (Wooden House) on Angel Island. Located in San Francisco Bay, the Angel Island Immigration Station served as an immigration port between 1910 and 1940. Through the process of writing and drawing, Tyson will share what he learns about the condition and contributions of early Chinese immigrants coming to the United States. Tyson and his Paw Paw are excited to collaborate on this story of love, gratitude, and healing that bridges generations, with help from the natural world. Tyson & Paw Paw will work together to create a new inter-generational ritual involving recycled materials, poetry and the cherry tree. Each Spring, Tyson & his Paw Paw will write a poem to hang on the cherry tree, and they will invite all of their friends and family to join them. ArtsEd4All will help to create an archive of the poems that will be openly shared, along with the process of planting the tree and creating the storybook.  

Themes Addressed

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    Reasons for Hope

The Benefit

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