The Secret of Sapling Green

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Sapling Green has always hidden her big secret – her green thumbs. But one day the old schoolyard tree is damaged in a storm. Can Sapling be brave enough to show her classmates her secret and save the tree?

This heart-warming story is an important reminder that our differences are our strengths, and we should always accept each other for who we are.



SPECIFICATIONS: 9781925820980 | Hardback | 245 x 255mm / 9.5 x 10in | 32 Pages | Full Colour

Sapling Green is a gentle, quiet girl with a secret she is scared to show the world. Wynn Farthing is funny and noisy, and the best at climbing high into the branches of the old schoolyard tree. One terrible day, after a storm, the gardener says the tree has to come down. Can Sapling use her secret to save the day?

 Sapling has always kept her hands in her pockets at school to hide her big secret – her green thumbs. But at home she flourishes, growing all kinds of brilliant flowers, shrubs and bushes. When the schoolyard tree is in danger, she has to show her special gift to her classmates in order to save it. To her surprise, they are delighted, particularly Wynn! It turns out Sapling’s differences are her strengths and through sharing them, she finds friendship and acceptance.

The Secret Of Sapling Green is a story for quiet children who are unsure of their place in their peer group, and the boisterous kids who rule the playground. Its whimsical watercolour illustrations will captivate young readers, and its story will inspire them to be brave and accept themselves – and each other – for who they are. Sapling’s green thumbs are a subtle and relatable metaphor for conditions which may make children feel like they are different, such as Autism. Her bravery despite her difference is a reminder that we should never feel like we have to hide who we are.

Penelope Pratley has been mucking about with paint for as long as she can remember. With a Bachelor of Fine Art and a Bachelor of Teaching, she has taught art from preschool to high school. Penelope now works from her home studio as an illustrator, tutoring aspiring artists, and producing and selling her work under the business name Penelope’s Nest.

Penelope loves to illustrate books that inspire children to find their place in the world. She is also passionate about providing children with the skillset to successfully use different art mediums at an early age, enabling them to see and interpret their environment creatively. Penelope is the illustrator of The Art Garden (EK Books), Ella and Mrs Gooseberry (EK Books), and Tomorrow Girl (EK Books).

When Penelope isn’t illustrating or munching chocolate freckles, you can find her in a cosy nook with her nose in a book.

Reading Time
“The Secret of Sapling Green is a beautifully told story with carefully chosen words in a brief text and with lovely illustrations. It’s message of acceptance of difference, both in ourselves and others, will stir empathy for children who are different and bring hope to those who struggle to fit in. An excellent teaching resource for starting class discussions about acceptance.”

Child Magazine
“ Unusual, believable and original — about saving of a school playground tree. Engaging illustrations.”

Swings and Roundabouts Magazine
This book highlights that we all have our ways of being in the world and our own special talents and to accept who you are and others too for what they bring.

School Days Magazine
“A charmingly illustrated book for children who are different or don’t necessarily always fit in but find their way and acceptance from others.”

What Book Next? Adele Broadbent

A story for the quiet children in a group or classroom environment, who are unsure how they fit. Often it is hard to connect with loud, boisterous children if you are naturally quiet and shy.

Sapling Green allows young readers to see how she found a place in the group just by being herself. She might have had a little magic, but helping a young child find a little courage to approach or connect like Sapling does, it can make a world of difference – being almost magic! read more here

Picture Book Parents

The Secret of Sapling Green is a beautifully illustrated and imaginative story about belonging, appropriate for any child who may feel different at times. It may be particularly useful for neurodiverse children who are finding school a challenge, because it doesn’t medicalise difference or focus on a set of ‘symptoms’ that don’t necessarily, or even often, relate to all kids ‘on the spectrum’.  Sapling, whose experience is unlike anyone else’s, is a character we can all connect with. ” read more here

Blue Wolf Reviews

The Secret of Sapling Green is an unusual book as it begins with a normal situation, but then flows into fantasy. Children will follow this switch in genre easily and happily accept the outcome. The storyline certainly involves the imagination and raises many questions for the avid reader. The idea that one can make a positive action to help make a friendship is a good one..”read more here


“Unusual, believable and original — about saving of a school playground tree. Engaging illustrations.”

The Bottom Shelf

“We are not empty pots like those portrayed on the front endpaper – we each have magic hidden in our depths that allows us to bloom as individually as the pots on the back” read more here

Buzz Words

The Secret of Sapling Green includes themes of individuality, diversity, embracing differences, courage, self-confidence, and friendship. It is recommended for children aged 5 years and older.” The illustrations beautifully support the book’s message by depicting a diverse group of children” read more here

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