Sonoma Valley author Gianna Marino has worked on over a dozen books for kids, but her latest, “We Will Live in This Forest Again” is her most personal. Written after the events of 2017, Marino explores the experience of living through a wildfire from the perspective of the animals of the forest, including deer, birds, and a mountain lion. “I wanted to use the animals to show how we all stuck together through this and we all worked together to get through this really difficult time,” says Marino.
“As people, we were all cleaning things up and trying to rebuild and get our lives back together, and so was nature in coming back and showing its strength.”
The story is gently told with simple, reassuring language to read aloud together and colorful, finely wrought watercolor illustrations. Marino has also chosen to add a personal essay and information at the back of the book for parents who would like to explore the topic of wildfire and resilience more deeply. “This is a time full of learning and change, and we wanted that extra information there to show that,” Marino explains.
There’s an honesty to Marino’s approach to writing for the kindergarten set which acknowledges the animals’ vulnerability to fire but also emphasizes renewal as new shoots arrive in spring. And after four years of difficult fire seasons here in Sonoma, it’s a natural cycle familiar to residents both young and old. The tender, forward-looking mood Marino creates in this book feels just right for the season.
“We Will Live in This Forest Again” is available at local independent bookstores and online. To learn more about the author’s other books for children, visit giannamarino.com.