“The Boy in a Tree” Interview

“The Boy in a Tree” Interview

About a year ago, I was asked to illustrate a children’s book called the “The Boy in a Tree,” written by my sister’s friend, Pamela Boodle, a resident of Schofield, WI. We now recently published the book–a 30 page, full color story of a boy with special needs named Nick who has a fascination and relentless interest in climbing trees. And not just any tree. He searches for trees “with branches made just right for climbing and up, up, up he goes.”

Nick has a different perspective on life. He simply enjoys being out in nature and being himself. He is not distracted by all the things that most people are and is free to love, to be silly, and to spend time with the people he cares most about.


special needs, cognitive disabilities, tree climbing

“The Boy in a Tree,” pages 9 & 10

The story in this book really spoke to me, as I can relate. I have a son with special needs as well. While reading the manuscript, I was nearly moved to tears, and I felt the connection. I knew I needed to illustrate the book for Pam.
A few days ago I did an interview with the author, asking her about the inspiration behind the book. I’d like to share her thoughts with you…
Me: Tell me a little about yourself.

PamI live in northern Wisconsin with my husband of 38 years. We have two married children and eight grandchildren. We are guardians of a niece and nephew who still reside with us. I have been involved with various children’s ministries for over 25 years. My heart’s passion and joy has been working with children with special needs.

Me: Where did the inspiration/ idea come for this book?

Pam: Our nephew, Nicholas, was born with cognitive disabilities. His love for the outdoors and especially climbing the perfect tree was the inspiration for the book.

Me: Why did you want to get the message contained in the book out?

Pam: Nick’s child-like outlook brings a newfound sense and appreciation for “what matters most” in life and the beauty that is all around us if only we take time to see it.

Me: What things do you think people will gain by reading it?

Pam: I believe readers of all ages could benefit from this story as it seeks to draw awareness, but most importantly, instill a greater appreciation for those with disabilities and what we can learn from their lives.

Me: Have you ever written books or other pieces of writing before? If so, what?

Pam: I have written personal stories and songs for friends and family.
Me: How did you choose an illustrator for the book?
Pam: I truly believe God brought us together and feel blessed to have Matt as the illustrator of The Boy in A Tree. He is a gifted artist that brought “life” to this project with his sensitivity to this subject matter. But mostly, I appreciate his passion and how he prayerfully pours his heart and soul into all his art, for the glory of God.
Me:  Do you intend on writing more books in the future?
Pam: I would love to as the Lord leads. I am currently working on a children’s series on the character of God.
Both Pam and her husband Jeff were so kind and generous to me in the production of this book. You can meet Pam and learn more about this book and the inspiration behind it in person. Pam and I will be having a book signing event Saturday December 3rd, from 1-4 p.m at my studio–Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Rd. in Eau Claire.
You are invited! We will have copies of “Boy in a Tree” available and we would love to sign a copy for you. There will be refreshments available as well.
Boy with special needs climbing a tree in a children's book

“The Boy in a Tree” Bookmark for Book Signing Event with Pam Booodle and Matt Philleo, Dec 3, 1-4 pm at Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, WI

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, here is another post I did about this book that you can check out. Please let your friends know about this event–especially if they have or know children with special needs. I believe this book would be a great encouragement to them.

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave me your feedback below! I will personally get back to you. Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links on the side or below. Thank you!

"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

Inscribed6a 500px

"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!

Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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  1. Dear Matt, Indeed you are showing extended talents in art with your illustration of what I assume is a children’s book. I can visualize this book used during childhood education where parents read to children in bed before sleep? Your illustration shown seems ideal for that purpose. And the message extremely important to impart to children in the six to eight year old bracket as they develop their friendships.. Nice work. –Eric Westhagen

    • Matt Philleo

      Thank you, Eric. Yes, this book would be fantastic for reading to children at nighttime. It is important for us to see people that are different from us as having something important that we can learn from, and when the kids are young, that’s the time to learn it. It was a pleasure to be able to illustrate this book and bring the story to life!


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