The Heart-Shaped Leaf

Shira Geffen

This magical tale follows a little girl named Alona on her journey through a windswept park.
Date Published :
February 2019
Publisher :
Green Bean Books
Contributor(s) :
David Polonsky
Illustration :
30 color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781784382629

Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 32
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Winner of The Hadassah Prize for Children’s Literature 2003 and The Israel Museum Prize for Illustration 2004

So captivatingly beautiful . . . it’s worthy of some kind of supreme seal of quality.
Yael Dar, Haaretz

This magical tale follows a little girl named Alona on her journey through a windswept park. As she rests under a tree to eat an apple, a golden leaf falls from the branches above. This leaf is different to all the others. It’s heart-shaped, and it protects Alona from the pouring rain. But does this enchanted leaf belong to her? And will she keep her new treasure or help it find its way home?

Shira Geffen's delicate, vivid and moving fantasy, perfectly illustrated by Polonsky's intricate pictures, is one of the most beautiful children’s books to ever appear. A touching and poetic story for 4–8-year-olds.

About The Author

Shira Geffen comes from Tel Aviv and is a playwright, director, actor and children's author. She has written four books for children. The Heart Shaped Leaf has also been translated into Swedish, Arabic and Persian.

David Polonsky has illustrated several picture books and also works as a teacher of animation and illustration. He was head illustrator for the film Waltz with Bashir, a critically acclaimed animated documentary and is the illustrator of the new, highly acclaimed Anne Frank graphic novel.


"Even for those who do not exactly need a new book right now, it would be worth their while to take a walk to the neighborhood bookstore and page through this book by Shira Geffen and David Polonsky. The book is so captivatingly beautiful, so meticulously and carefully produced, so technically perfect, so attentive to its wording, that it’s worthy of some kind of supreme seal of quality. After browsing through it, it’s worth finding a quiet corner and reading. Between the narrative and the illustrations, a delicate and moving fantasy is spun … The style of illustration demands a high technical ability, and that indeed is evident in each drawing. Polonsky’s pictures are full of movement, their coloration is enthralling, and they are drawn from many and varied angles … The delicate texture breaks out of each one of them … He also manages to gently convey a very tangible Israeli-ness in his illustrations."

- Yael Dar, Haaretz

"Geffen has written a fable-like text with multiple meanings … A parent could help make the child’s questions into thought. This has been achieved by Shira Geffen, modestly, wisely and simply. The illustrations by Polonsky, remarkable in their intricacy and beauty, only bolster the text with warmth, humanity and symbolization."

- Lea Aini, Maariv

"The cover of the new children’s book, The Heart-Shaped Leaf, catches the eye with its beauty … It is truly captivating. Also inside the book, the illustrations by David Polonsky are sublime. They contain a precise mixture of something that is nearby and familiar and that arouses identification, with something remote and alien, European and cold, intriguing like a fairytale … In The Heart-Shaped Leaf there is beauty, gentleness and delicacy."

- Ruta Kupfer, Haaretz

"Shira Geffen has captured the fragility of the child’s consciousness, and has sketched her intricate outline without neglecting the poetics of literary description. Depicting a child’s consciousness demands following a child’s moods and also boldly tracking childish thought … Geffen has carried out all of these tasks skillfully and sensitively, and most importantly, with a great deal of respect for children … She truly respects and appreciates the way in which a child thinks. It is as if she wrote the book from inside the secret places of the child that she once was … Depiction of the child’s consciousness upgrades the trivial to the poetic … Unlike many children’s books, in which the illustrations back up the text or simply overwhelm it, Geffen’s text is very vivid even without the illustrations. But the illustrations by David Polonsky are deserving of no less warm praise. They are strong and rich, but at the same time gentle and pleasant."

- Yael Israel, Maariv

"Unlike most children’s books, in Geffen you’ll find no strict moral or penny philosophy. An associative train of thought, in language as children speak it, touching upon the contemporary nuclear family, which has lost its familiar structure, and remarkable illustrations by David Polonsky, make Geffen’s words into a captivating work of art."

- Merav Yudilevich, Ynet

"Magical and poetic … Penetrates the heart and wipes away the aches. This is a book of reflections, a kind of journey into the soul, which will provoke your kids too to think about themselves and their surroundings … Superb."

- Smadar Shir, Yedioth Ahronoth

"This is exactly how I like them, children’s books which have a lovely harmony between the words and the pictures, and in this book by Shira Geffen and David Polonsky, this harmony already finds expression on the cover … Indeed, a great pleasure. Shira Geffen has written a beautiful and delicate story about a sweet and sensitive little girl whose thoughts are original and whose imagination is rich … Written so beautifully and wonderfully illustrated. This is exactly what the pictures for this book, with its special atmosphere, should look like … This book really reaches the reader’s heart."

- Osnat Blair, Lihiyot Horim

"The loveliest book in town … Raises the level of Hebrew children’s books to a new height."

- Rachella Sandbank, Laisha

"Geffen is undoubtedly an ocean of talent. This is one of the most beautiful children’s book to ever appear, and not only in Hebrew … Thrilling."

- Yaron Fried, Hair

"Mesmerizingly-illustrated…. A comforting fable about parenting, loss and love."

- Angela Kiverstein, The Jewish Chronicle

"...stunningly detailed illustrations are masterfully drawn and painted. Alona is as cute as a button, and her range of expressions are vividly portrayed. The book’s colors well represent the autumn season during which this is taking place..."

"...a beautifully written and charming fable with a message of respect for the earth and gratitude for all it gives us. It will serve as an appealing Thanksgiving story as well as a nice Tu B’Shvat read-aloud."

- Association of Jewish Libraries

David Polonsky’s illustrations, which won the Israel Museum prize for Illustration in 2004, have a luminous, otherworldly quality that enhances the book’s sense of mystery.

- Jewish Book Council