Building Character with Leaf from Leaf and the Long Ice

It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is excited to host Leaf from Leaf & the Long Ice. It’s so great to have you with us, Leaf. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Leaf – a Twig. I’m a stick creature, but don’t think I’m so small.  I’m as tall as a robin!  I have emerald-green leafy hair, and I like to hide in trees.  I sprout from the Old Seeder Twig Branch, and I live in a huge knothole high up in the oldest and tallest tree in the South Forest.  I have a Pappo, a Mumma, a creepy, little sister named Fern, and irritating twin brothers called Buddy and Burba, who are just babes.  I know lots of wild creatures in the forest – some friendly, and some are really scary.  There are lots of other Twigs who live in different kinds of trees like Cappynut Twigs, Willow Twigs, Hemlock Twigs, and Furrypine Twigs, but I don’t know them all because Twigs keep to themselves most of the time.  We all look different, and we make different tools and stuff.  So, we’re always learning new things from each other.

How fascinating! Your life sounds idyllic to me. What kinds of problems do you and your family run into?

Twigs always have to watch out for other creatures in the forest – like hookbeaks that stick us in their nests, softeye does that eat us, and snarlers that bat us around like toys.  But that’s not such a big worry, ‘cause we’ve been around for thousands of years, and know most of the forest skills we need to survive, plus we have very clever tools!  Pappo’s teaching me all about hunting and tools.

But lately, the seasons are strange.  Like the cold season isn’t so cold anymore so these horrible crawlies we call barkbiters swarm and destroy our trees.  And the thick snowcap on Echo Peak is melting.  At first we have floods, and then no fresh water later when the hot season comes.  The creatures are suffering.  The trees are dying.  The wildfires are the worst.  Twigs worry most about lightning ‘cause Twigs mostly live in trees, you know!

Oh, you have all sorts of challenges and things to worry about.  Tell us about your best friend.

Rustle is a Ridge Twig, and the best friend any Twig could ever have!  He makes leaf-flyers, and gave me a ride on a giant, red-leaf-flyer once. We flew right over the Wide Valley!  Rustle is really smart in the forest ‘cause he’s lived there all by himself ever since he was just a bud.  You see, his family disappeared in a terrible forest fire.  That’s when his paps threw him out of a tree to save his life.   Rustle is so clever!  He can sound like any forest creature you can think of … even the stinky kinds!  Rustle is the best!

We’d love to learn more about you. What is your strongest personality trait?

I’m awfully stubborn.  It’s not always a good thing, ‘cause I don’t know when to quit when I should, so sometimes I get in trouble.  But lately, I’ve helped my family get rescued from a flood, saved some trapped North Forest Twigs from barkbiter swarms and a firestorm, and I even made a knotty, old Willow Twig hermit help me find my brothers when they got lost in the blue tunnels of the Long Ice on Echo Peak.  So sometimes being stubborn is a good thing.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

The best hunter in the forest! The best at collecting stuff, that is! Twigs collect stuff all the time like gemstones for their walking sticks.  Or I’d like to be Rustle.

I’m always wishing I were more like my best friend too. She’s so generous and giving and loving. If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

I’d be sure all Twigs know how to protect their own tree.  If we stick together, we can save enough places to be sure the forest lasts a long time.

Leaf, thanks so much for visiting with us. You’re passion and energy are infectious. Readers, here is the blurb from Leaf’s latest book, Leaf & the Long Ice.

A tiny stick creature named Leaf lives in an old forest at the foot of an ancient volcano, which is capped by a massive glacier called the Long Ice.  Leaf often entertains his younger, twin brothers with stories about the rare snow beasts that still survive on the Long Ice even though it shrinks more and more as the seasons grow hotter.  One afternoon, the twins run away to play in the snow before it all melts.  They hitch a ride on a giant moth, befriend a snowshoe bunny, and stumble upon a hermit's creepy cave.  Mistaking the hermit’s odd pets for a cave beast's meal, the twins rescue them all.  When a bold mountain goat kid leaps into the expedition, a mighty eagle attacks!  Panicked, they rush into the glacier’s icy tunnels, and are lost in a maze of melting, blue tubes.  Yet, all is not lost, for with the help of a courageous pika Leaf and the hermit join forces to find the twins.  But in a dreadful turn of events, it is the snow beasts of the Long Ice that will decide their fate.

Twig Stories’ royalties are shared with conservation nonprofits.

Leaf & the Long Ice ~ on ~ paperback & kindle; and other online stores
Paperback list price: $11.99  ~  Kindle version will be available soon $2.99!

Use Createspace Estore for a 20% discount > $9.59 (save $2.40!)
Use Code: QBK2J6DZ

About Leaf’s author, Jo Marshall:

Jo Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest near volcanoes, rainforests, grasslands, and the ocean.  In 1986, while living in West Berlin, she earned a B.A. in German Language and Literature, and for many years, Jo lived in the D.C. area as the legal assistant to two General Counsels of two nonprofits at their national headquarters.  She enjoys learning about climate change, reading mysteries, working puzzles, and listening to NPR.  She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and RABMAD - Read A Book Make A Difference. She shares her royalties with conservation nonprofits.  Jo resides in Snohomish, Washington with her husband, son, daughter, and many loving creatures.

You can learn more about Leaf’s other adventures and some of Jo’s adventures by visiting:

Please visit the Twig Stories website soon! 
Tweet Jo: @Twigstories.
Follow her Pinterest boards: @Twigstories
Facebook author page:
Facebook fan page:
If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.


  1. Wow, Kai, thanks for interviewing a Twig like me. I'm pretty proud of myself! Jo thinks you're the best for tellin' everybody that we care about our forest so much. Rustle says he'd love to take you for a ride on his leaf-flyer, but you're too big. So he's just gonna' throw some pretty leaves in your trees to thank you. All us Twigs love you, Kai, especially 'cause you're from the Pacific Northwest like us, and love our forests!

    1. Leaf, you twigs are so much fun! Tell Rustle thanks for the pretty leaves, always nice as we come out of our long winter. I really do love our forests and spend a lot of time in them. If you ever see me, be sure to say hi!

  2. So much fun! I wish I had met the TWIGS when I was growing up!

  3. What a neat story, Twig. So nice to meet you. I hope all your dreams come true. I love trees too, even though here in Texas we have mostly mesquites. They're great, sturdy and strong.

    Congratulations on your book, Jo. Best of luck to you.

    1. I'm completely enamored with the Twigs! Thanks for reading, Beverly.

  4. Replies
    1. Easy when the character is so cute, huh? Thanks for stopping in, Catherine.


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