There is nowhere in the world seventh grader Coco Hidden loves more than El Corazón, the bean-to-bar chocolate shop she and her mom run in her small Colorado hometown of Heartbeat Springs. Even when her best friend, Leo, stops talking to her, she can find reassurance in her favorite food: chocolate. Nothing in her world seems concrete, but she’s sure she’ll never lose El Corazón.
But then her mom tells her they’ll have to close the chocolate shop. Coco is certain that if she she’ll be able to save it if she can find a ceiba tree which has been haunting her dreams. But she’s never even left Colorado—how is she supposed to get to the Amazon rainforest?
Before long, Coco finds herself on an astonishing trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon with Leo and Gali Gallo, her elderly inventor-neighbor who has secrets of his own. But this small, unexpected bit of hope is deeply threatened. The jungle is being destroyed by loggers and oil-drillers who don’t consider the trees they’re cutting down or the ecosystems they’re destroying. Will Coco be able to find the ceiba tree and rescue El Corazón before it’s destroyed forever?
Tree of Dreams was an amazing book, simultaneously funny and deep. It confronts the damage being done to rainforests in a deeply relatable and unusual way—instead of feeling as though this was the reason Laura Resau wrote this book, it simply read like something which was drawn from it, in a very powerful way.
However, you don’t have to be looking for that to love this book! Coco is a funny, relatable heroine with complicated relationships and a deep love of chocolate. The settings—particularly the rainforest—felt completely real to me. All in all, I would highly recommend Tree of Dreams to a wide range of readers ages nine and up: to people who love rainforest conservation, readers who love stories about kids and their adventures, and, of course, anyone who loves chocolate!