Celestine and the Magical Geranium is a folk tale for kids age 5 and up. It recounts the story of a seed that grows into a gorgeous geranium flower, and of a gentle love that flourishes between Geranium and Celestine. It is a symbolic story which embraces the cycles of life, the flowering of seed thought which mirror inner growth as the flower evolves to build her golden castle. It is a spiritual story within which the child's mind soars "beyond the first floor, beyond the second floor" and beyond the roof of Celestine's house. In reading Celestine and the Magical Geranium, the child understands that "I too am growing up and doing great things. I too am a very special person." Reviews and commentaries: Barbara Sala’s “Celestine and the Magical Geranium” is about the relationship between a girl and a special flower. The girl tends the flower which in turn nourishes her soul. People unintentionally destroy the flower in their overzealous enjoyment of it. The girl’s hope is restored when she realizes that she can grow more geraniums from the seeds left behind. Sala’s naïve artwork, rendred in acrylic and oil, is rich with bright colours. Carol-Ann Hoyte, Montreal Reviews of Books, Fall & Winter 2004/05, Volume 8, No. 1 ..... Imaginatively written and colorfully illustrated for young readers 5 through 7 by Barbara Sala, Celestine And The Magical Geranium is the picturebook of a young girl and the geranium seed that will touch her life forever. The flower she raises is a friend and more, growing to touch the skies. All things come to an end, whether natural or hastened, and the girl and the magical geranium must say goodbye... yet their friendship lives on, and can be spread through the gift of seeds. A moving story about bonds to treasure and the cycle of life. Midwest Bookreview ...... Reading this charming book is nothing short of an experience. The allure of this book is two-fold. Your eyes are first greeted with folk art on its finest display. Children and adults alike will be transfixed on the minute details that give every page life. The gentle story of Celestine and her magical geranium is also pure joy. Her flower-friend grows ever larger, bringing joy to all who see it. Eventualy the flower fades, as all flowers do. Rather than bringing sadness, the geranium and Celestine gift all those who receive joy with seeds, showing that the gifts of others provide joy long after they have faded. My children and their friends were equally enchanted with this beautiful book. Just as Celestine’s geranium brought joy to her community, this book will bring joy to all children. Meg Grooms, firstname.lastname@example.org ……. “Without a doubt, this books is beautiful from the first page to the last. The artwork is such a unique and special style. I believe kids would love to read through this book time and again with fascination. The interesting magical story helps the reader walk through the beautiful art.” Judge’s commentary, Writer’s Digest, 12th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards 2005 “Celestine and the Magical Geranium is a delightful book for young children. Barbara Sala has provided both text and pictures." ..... The visual impact is particularly striking. The pictures are vividly coloured, and full of lively activity of many kinds. Children tend to like books with many things to look at. Here we have gardens, birds, animals, and a few people. The birds and animals seem in constant movement as the gardens flourish and the sun and sky peer down on an animated earth. The vitality of all this movement is stimulating.” Sheila McDonough, PHD, Professor emeritus, author of Gandhi’s Responses to Islam and other works. ….. Ms Sala, after some years of creative work on individual canvasses, has decided to venture one step further and to combine the written word with her painting. Through this fusion she gives verbal expression, and opens our eyes and minds, to the hidden meaning of her visual creations. It is a book where magic reigns, where material needs and spiritual aspirations go hand in hand, one complementing and necessitating the other. The heroine Celestine (i.e., the “celestial” in a blue and white dotted dress – sky and clouds) is the conduit for the appearance in this world of the eternal spirit (the magical geranium). Its development and growth to a mythical size, its downfall and destruction by the mindless masses and its rebirth and multiplication from the one to innumerable smaller flower-spirits all over the island clearly demonstrate the author’s faith in the invincibility of the human spirit. In the numerous illustrations the geranium is always surrounded by a plethora of plants, trees, animals and people. The whole is watching, bathed in a kaleidoscopic whirl of bright, enthusiastic colours. Rigas Bertos, PHD, Chairman of the Department of Art History, ret’d., McGill University. …………….. “Barbara Sala’s work has opened my eyes to the sophistication inherent in naïve art, and the depth of the symbolism in her paintings. Her story “Celestine and the Magical Geranium” captivates and beguiles the reader – adult and child together – while subtly offering a lesson to treasure.” Alcida Boissonnault, mother, grandmother, entrepreneur. ……………. What a wonderful book to share with children. Can be linked to science, and moral and religious instructions. Thank you for your wonderful vision”. Patrizia Ciccarelli, Vice-Principal and teacher.
Barbara Sala was born in 1937 and grew up in the Bavarian Alps. She left home to learn English and French. She became a secretary and found employment with the united Nations in the Congo. There she met her husband, gave birth to her son and daughter and escaped from the Congolese turmoils in 1967. After two more assignments with the UN in the Dominican Republic and Guyana, the family emigrated to Canada, Montreal in 1974. Here she worked as a real estate agent while raising her children. After a mid-life crisis in the late 70s she started painting and never stopped doing so. Barbara Sala belongs to the visionary types of naive (primitive) painters, who tell themselves fairy tales on canvas. Essentially self-taught, she fills her canvases with people and animals together with magical and mystical symbols. Her brightly coloured works aim to evoke a time of innocence and childlike wonder. Since 1985 she has participated in many group and solo exhibitions in Canada and abroad.