A fourth-grade teacher in the Mustang Public Schools, a suburb of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, author Gaye Sanders makes it a point to share the historic story of the Oklahoma City bombing with her students every year.
Born and reared in Fritch, Texas, a small town in the Texas Panhandle, she earned an associate degree from Frank Phillips Junior College in Borger, Texas, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma.
She began her teaching career in Houston, Texas, before moving to central Oklahoma in 1985. She taught more than five years in the Putnam City Public Schools before joining the Mustang Public School District in 1991.
She is the Assistant Regional Advisor for the Oklahoma Region of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. Gaye is also a member of the National Education Association and the Oklahoma Education Association.
The mother of two grown sons, the author makes her home in Yukon, Oklahoma.
About The Survivor Tree
In this most American of stories, a family plants an American elm just as a new capital city is taking root–the little tree grows as Oklahoma City grows until 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, the day America fell silent at the hands of one of its own. With branches tattered and filled with evidence from the bombing, the charred elm faces calls that it be cut down. Yet in the end, as the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah Building is cleared, the solitary tree remains–but only because of a few who marvel that, like them, it is still there. The next spring when the first leaf appears proving the tree is still alive, word spreads like a prairie wildfire through the country and the world, and the tree becomes a universal symbol that no matter what happens, one can endure. The tree is also given a new name: The Survivor Tree.