The Crabapple Tree: Live an authentic life: #RWYK Certified Great Read

The Crabapple Tree: Live an authentic life: #RWYK Certified Great Read post thumbnail image

#RWYK Certified Great Read #Review – The Crabapple Tree: Live an authentic life by Tom O’Toole Jr.

5 stars

Yippee, It’s Friday! And that means we have a brand NEW certified great read to recommend that you will love and love and love!

It is important to teach your kids that being yourself is something to celebrate. Today on the Reading with your kids, we are ELATED  to introduce our readers to a very special children’s book that emphasizes the importance of teaching kids about how people are different and we should learn to love and embrace the differences in all of us. And that book is none other than The Crabapple Tree: Live an authentic life written by Tom O’Toole Jr.!



Let’s have a look at the Book Blurb

The Crabapple Tree: Live an Authentic Life by Tom O’Toole Jr.

The Crabapple Tree: Live an Authentic LifeLive an authentic life! The Crabapple Tree is about bravery, courage and standing up in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition, criticism, judgment, and invalidation of personal identity. It is about crushed hope that is restored and dreams that were snuffed out being rekindled. It is about the gender-neutral artist who was told over and over again, “You will never amount to anything if you follow your creative heart.” It is about the athletic girl who was told, “You aren’t pretty enough,” or the sensitive boy who was told, “Real men don’t cry.” It is about the non-traditional family with two moms or two dads who are told, “Your union is dishonorable, and you are a threat to my religious liberty.” And it is about me, a gay boy who grew up in a whirlwind of pious legalism, convinced that something was terribly wrong with me. It is a story of hope deferred and a renewed belief in the fulfillment of longing. It is a story that elevates the marginalized and calls forth the ostracized. It is a story about the Greatest Voice speaking into the hopeless heart saying, “I see you. I made you. I love you. I want you. Never forget that love is love is love.”


Click the Amazon link below to grab your copy today to learn more about The Crabapple Tree!



Meet the Author: Tom O’Toole Jr.

Tom O'TooleTom O’Toole, Jr., is a seasoned resource development professional having served various faith-based, community development, social service, arts & culture, and educational nonprofits for more than 35 years. He helps mission-driven people and organizations reach for their potential by acquiring and multiplying resources to be effective in serving some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals and communities. Tom is part of River of Life, a small, urban church in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, is a member of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, and resides in Norwood, Massachusetts, with his two cats, Neo and Trinity. Tom has a BA in Community Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and an MS in Leadership and Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. Tom is Principal at Fruit in Season Consulting and is available to consult with small to medium-sized nonprofits needing assistance with fundraising, marketing, public relations, and communications. Learn more at


If you’d like to find out more about Tom and his book, visit

His author website:



Our Review



Beautiful text; important, emotional story; relatable characters. There’s so much to love and discuss in The Crabapple Tree: Live an authentic life, a children’s book written by Tom O’Toole Jr. and illustrated by Badrussoleh!

The Crabapple Tree is a powerful book that follows the story of a young boy named Hopeful. He was a part of a family of five: a daddy, a mommy, a little girl, her little brother, and a baby girl. Hopeful had a younger brother who died so his family was sad but this was until they found a perfect new home that also had a strong and beautiful apple tree in their backyard i.e. The Crabapple Tree. Hopeful LOVED his apple tree and was excited to taste the apples it will produce. He didn’t care if the apples were green, yellow or red because “an apple is an apple is an apple!” Later in the autumn, some vexing voices approached Hopeful’s parents and suggested that the apple tree needs to be cut down as it does not give the real apples. Will Hopefull, who initially tries to follow the opinions of others, be able to find the courage to stand up for his beloved tree?

Using the crabapple tree as a comparison for the things in life that make us diverse and may draw the disapproval or wrath of others, this story teaches children and reminds parents, the importance of accepting others as they are and always being true to yourself.  The book adorably teaches kids to love and nurture themselves despite the criticism of others. The crabapple tree is a powerful representation that can relate to anybody’s inner challenges. A beautiful message of  “love is love is love!”

Illustrator Badrussoleh has created something special with the main character and with this format. The illustrations tell the story as much as the words, creating a lively, interactive narrative.

This powerful children’s book explores the complicated concepts of feeling different, [and] belonging. Highly recommended for all libraries.  This book should be in every school library as it unabashedly encourages the need for hope and understanding for all.

Final Verdict


Overall, we think The Crabapple Tree would make an incredible read-aloud for an upper elementary or middle school class and would also be a great selection for book groups. A few times in the book, Hopeful says “an apple is an apple is an apple” Well, Tom O’Toole is able to give readers so very much with this incredible story, which does not shy away from difficult content but also offers so much hope and beauty.

“The Crabapple Tree: Live an Authentic Life”



Congratulations to Tom O’Toole Jr. for winning the RWYK Certified Great Read StatusClapping Hands on Apple iOS 11.2Clapping Hands on Apple iOS 11.2Clapping Hands on Apple iOS 11.2


A big thank you to the author for providing us a free copy of his book through Reading with your Kids certified program. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely our own.


In case, if you’ve missed, Be sure to check out Tom’s appearance on the podcast!

“The Crabapple Tree: Live an Authentic Life” by Tom O’Toole, Jr.

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