In this faith-based story, a gardener must find renewed hope when nature destroys her most precious flower.
The picture book begins as an aging gardener looks longingly at the rocking chair on her porch, ready to rest and content that she has done all she can to protect and nourish her garden. But her plans are re-written when she finds a new plant trying to take hold in a tough patch of the garden. She finds the strength — and God grants her more years — to help the steadfast plant, “Heaven’s Flower,” continue to grow.
When a terrible hailstorm destroys the hardy flower, the gardener returns to the rocky soil, devastated but convinced that her Heaven’s Flower is still alive. She is rewarded when the plant sends up a multitude of new blooms, confirming her belief in life and love.
Author Dawn Anna wrote the allegory of the gardener to bring comfort to those who are grieving. In 1999, her daughter, Lauren Townsend, was one of the students gunned down at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. “We were brought to our knees in grief,” she states in the book. “Our faith lifted us up.” She chose a picture book style so that the reader would not be overburdened with text, and she chose illustrator Livy Hitchcock to produce the lovingly rendered drawings of the garden and its Heaven’s Flower, fittingly, a columbine.
Certainly the book has some flaws. The gardener metaphor is far from subtle and the illustrations are a bit too repetitive, but none of that undermines the book’s stated purpose. The author’s efforts are so heartfelt and personal, that any reader – grieving or otherwise – is sure to find comfort in her poignant words about loss: “Heaven’s Flower was not gone but, instead reborn in countless others, who would carry on her spirit.”
Also available in paperback and ebook.