Topic: Flora

  Aani and the Tree Huggers

by Jeannine Atkins

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Based upon real events that took place during the 1970's in Northern India, this picture book is exquisitely illustrated using traditional Indian art techniques to portray the rural life of an Indian village and the determination of the Indian women to save their forest.

"Aani and the Tree Huggers takes place in a village in India that practices the sustainable cutting of a few trees every year to build houses; they get what they need from the forest without depleting it. One day men come to cut down the forest, ordered to do so by a man in the city who is not connected to the village or community. The village women wrap their arms around the trees refusing to allow the men to cut them. Facing this resistance, the men leave and the trees are saved." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (Winter 1997-1998) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir

by Barbara Bash

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"To read this book is to take an intimate walk through the old-growth world of the Pacific Northwest United States. At the heart of this world is the mighty Douglas fir tree, one of the largest living things on earth. . . . Bash begins this journey in the uppermost branches where murrelets nest and red voles spend their entire lives. Other creatures are here, too -- flying squirrels and spotted owls. The text and illustrations of this book provide a detailed and impressive story of the life cycle of a tree but they go far beyond that. They also show the interdependence of many other living things. . . . The book then shows us how death and decay bring forth new life, not just in the forest itself but in the streams where salmon spawn. . . . At the end of the book, the author describes her own journey in the making of this book and then makes a plea to her young readers for preserving the ancient forests." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (March/April 1996) published by CCEL.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Anno's Magic Seeds

by Mitsumasa Anno

HARDCOVER
Flora : Gardening

"Anno's Magic Seeds is magical as well as logical with arithmetic woven into the text and illustrations. . . . Children, ages eight and above, will enjoy counting and predicting how many seeds there will be. Anno's story has a deeper message for the reader. He writes about saving seeds to replant the following year, increasing the harvest, and selling seeds to the community. He introduces issues of hunger and of how much is enough. He writes about generosity and about self-preservation. This is a wonderful, rich, inspirational story." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (September/October 1996) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Are Trees Alive?

by Debbie S. Miller

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Multicultural 

Drawing basic comparisons between the structure of trees and humans, Are Trees Alive? describes these living plants, how they exist, grow, draw nutrients and provide habitats for other creatures. The double-page acrylic and gouache illustrations span the fascinating variety of trees found throughout the world depicted with their respective cultures -- the exotic baobab, ribbon gum, coconut, cocoa, kapok and banyan trees as well as the more familiar maple, redwood, pine, birch and aspen of North America. A picture glossary of the trees, including their dependent animals, provides interesting historical and scientific information.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Be A Friend To Trees

by Patricia Lauber

PAPERBACK
Flora : Trees & Forests

Be A Friend To Trees is a lucid and informative introduction with colored, labeled illustrations for young readers to trees, their structure, and the role of photosynthesis as well as our dependence upon trees. Lauber points out the importance of trees, not only as a natural resource for paper and wood items, but also as conservers of soil and as a fundamental source of oxygen, food and shelter for animals. Children are provided suggestions how to be a friend to trees by recycling, conserving and planting trees.

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  The Beautiful Christmas Tree

by Charlotte Zolotow

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

This classic book by Zolotow, reissued with contemporary illustrations by Yan Nascimbene, evokes the spirit of the season in reaffirming the goodness of humanity. The patience and caring of the urban dweller who rescues a withering pine, then nurtures it over the years is rewarded over time by the songbirds who come to nest in its branches and the communal feeling of the neighborhood that the presence of the tree instills. This book serves as a reminder of the true spirit of the season.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes

by Rosalind Creasy

HARDCOVER
Flora : Gardening

As an excellent resource for the creation of an organic rainbow garden of unusually colored vegetables and fruits, such as red corn and yellow watermelon, this book provides young gardeners simple, clear information about ordering and selecting seeds, the preparation of soil, planting, watering and weeding as well as organic methods of fertilization and pest control. The second part of the book offers detailed instructions for the care of each of the eight rainbow vegetables and fruits of the garden and for an easy-to-make recipe after harvest.

See also:
Elizabeth Scholl's Organic Gardening for Kids
Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening
Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup
Elizabeth MacLeod's Grow It Again

        Grades: 2nd to 6th

  Cactus Hotel

by Brenda Guiberson

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"One day in the desert, a bright red fruit falls to the ground from a giant saguaro cactus. This marks the beginning of the life cycle of a new cactus that will serve as home to many of the desert's creatures in its lifetime. Beautifully detailed illustrations reflect the complexity and interrelatedness of the desert ecosystem -- the plants, animals, and climate around the saguaro." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  The Carrot Seed

by Ruth Krauss

PAPERBACK
Flora : Gardening

"The Carrot Seed is a wonderful first book about the planting of a seed. It is about a little boy and his 'wonderful and quietly unshakable confidence in his carrot seed.' The text and accompanying two-color illustrations are simple, yet perfect for a young reader (to second grade)." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (September/October 1996) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Kindergarten to 2nd

  Christmas Trees

by Robert Frost

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Frost's poem subtly reveals the true worth of trees as materialistic rewards are dwarfed in comparison to the natural beauty of the woods. Written in 1916, Frost's Christmas circular letter describes the wisdom of a farmer in his reaction to a city man's offer for his trees. Rand's full-page color paintings illustrate the beauty of the fall New England countryside.

      Grades: 3rd & up

  Compost Stew

by Mary McKenna Siddals

HARDCOVER
Flora : Recycling & Composting
Flora  : Gardening

From Apple cores and Laundry lint to Teabags and Zinnia heads, this A to Z guide to composting shows young "environmental chefs" the many items from their homes and gardens that can be placed in a compost "pot" to stew over time into a delicious treat for Mother Earth. The vibrant collages, depicting multicultural kids finding and putting together items for the stew, are created with recycled and found materials to further the environmental message. A "Chef's Note" about what ingredients not to include in the compost complements the recipe. This rhyming picture book is an upbeat introduction to composting as an important step for caring for the Earth.

To learn more, visit Composting For Kids.

See also:
Robin Koontz's Composting: Nature's Recyclers, and
Linda Glaser's Compost!: Growing Gardens From Your Garbage

For older children, see also:
Linda Glaser's Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story, and
Bianca Lavies' Compost Critters

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Gardening

During a walk in his neighborhood of a grey, dismal city, a boy discovers an abandoned railway where a few wildflowers and plants are struggling to survive. Liam cares for the plants that gradually spread to new places. Over time new gardeners join the boy in creating lush gardens, transforming the dreary urban landscape into one abounding with life and beauty.

This beautiful picture book was inspired by High Line, an elevated railway in Manhattan that had been abandoned since 1980.

Printed on recycled paper.

See also:
Gordon Morrison's Nature in the Neighborhood
Martin Brennan's I Saw It in the Garden

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Dandelions:  Stars in the Grass

by Mia Posada

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Plants & Flowers

The rhyming verse and soft, lyrical illustrations present the life cycle of a plant -- the notorious and ordinary dandelion. However, the author offers a different perspective to look upon that which people often regard as a "weed" -- a perspective that views beauty in nature as one learns how a tiny seed grows into a flower. The words of the text flow through the pages of beautiful full-spread paintings like seeds moved by the wind. A recipe for a dandelion salad is also included.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Down to Earth: Garden Secrets! Garden Stories! Garden Projects You Can Do!

by Michael J. Rosen

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Gardening

Rosen compiled this anthology of 41 children's book authors and illustrators into an engrossing collection of stories, projects, activities and recipes -- all related to gardening. Dozens of stories let readers experience a touching personal remembrance or amusing anecdote about a particular plant. When a childhood dream is finally realized through his own orchard, Erich Hoyt also learns to share apples with local bears; Maryjo Koch reminisces about the beauty of the foxglove that also serves an important medicinal purpose for a loved one; Nicholasa Mohr discovers the flaming red trees on her first visit to her parent's cherished island of Borinquen in Puerto Rico; Kathyrn Lasky shares her love of moss that grows on walls to create beautiful patterns. The thirty-three adventures in "Let's Get Growing: Activities" include recipes for cheesy zucchini, apple crumble and roasted squash seeds; instructions for planting a spring rainbow, growing a pole-bean teepee, drying/pressing flowers, creating potato prints and fern prints as well as bottle gardens and windowsill lawns.

Contributors to this anthology include: Kathi Appelt, Keith Baker, Karen Barbour, Eve Bunting, Amy Butler, David Butler, David Catrow, Lynne Cherry, Malka Drucker, Lois Ehlert, Mark English, Denise Fleming, Vivienne Flesher, Julia Gorton, Donald Hall, Florence Parry Heide, Will Hillenbrand, Ron Hirschi, Erich Hoyt, Angela Johnson, Carole King, Daniel Kirk, Maryjo Koch, Maxine Kumin, Kathryn Lasky, Adam McCauley, Michael McCurdy, Nicholesa Mohr, Diana Pomeroy, Gloria Rand, Jane Ray, Mary Lyn Ray, Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Michael Rosen, Reynold Ruffins, Greg Shed, Judy Sierra, David Updike, Nicki Weiss, Vera B. Williams, Christopher Wormell and Dan Yaccarino. Contributors donated their work so that proceeds support Share Our Strength, an antihunger organization.

      Grades: 5th & up

  Fire!

by Celia Godkin

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Focusing on the natural role of fire in the renewal of a forest, Godkin’s picture book follows the life cycle of a boreal forest from its devastation by fire to its gradual renewal as a thriving ecosystem. In the aftermath of a huge blaze, as seeds germinate on the charred timbers, small creatures that survived in their burrows emerge to feed on the shoots. During the following weeks grasses, wildflowers and saplings soon form a lush carpet of growth. Over the years, as the larger species return, the healthy ecosystem of the forest is gradually reestablished. Godkin notes that "though we must protect people and their homes from forest fires, we need not be concerned about the effect of fires on the forests themselves" since natural fires play a key role in maintaining a forest ecosystem healthy. The "Author’s Note" also includes a listing of websites for further exploration of the topic of forest fires.

See also: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's, Fire: Friend or Foe, and
Sneed B. Collard's The Prairie Builders

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  The Flower Alphabet Book

by Jerry Pallotta

HARDCOVER
Flora : Plants & Flowers
Flora  : Gardening

From the amaryllis to the iris to the pansy to the zinnia, colorful illustrations of a flower of one letter of the alphabet adorn a page. Brief information is provided for young children on each letter's page about each flower, such as the edelweiss found on mountains, hollyhock that was used to make dolls, the marigold fed to chickens, the edible nasturtium used in salads, and jasmine that is used in teas and perfume. Supplementary information about the origin of the names, folklore and uses of the flowers follows the text in the "Artist's Notes".

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Flower Garden

by Eve Bunting

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Gardening

"The possibility of a garden for apartment dwellers becomes a reality in this beautifully illustrated book. This little city garden, intended as a birthday gift for mom, becomes a gift for all those who have the great fortune to view it. The window box filled with a rainbow of blossoms contrasts with the surrounding urban canvas and becomes home to butterflies and ladybugs. The illustrations are beautiful as well as botanically accurate and the placid prose accents the aura of this miracle on West 76th St." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (September/October 1995) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Forest Adventures with Bruni the Bear

by Reese Halter

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

While searching for honey in the forest, Bruni the Bear encounters some of his friends, a bird, a moose, a beaver, a squirrel and a honeybee, who explain to him what they know about trees. Written by conservation biologist Reese Halter, this colorful illustrated book introduces young children to: basic types of trees; trunks, roots and bark; how trees make food and oxygen; and, the role of conifer cones and broadleaf flowers. The story context creates a fun-filled journey of exploration of trees and forests for young kids.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  The Gift of the Tree

by Alvin Tresselt

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"A story about the decomposition of a tree and the new life that springs forth from its remains. Captivating paintings draw the reader into the cycle of life in the natural world, illustrating how 'what comes around goes around' in nature too." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Grandfather's Christmas Tree

by Keith Strand

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

The exquisite paintings of Thomas Locker complement the evocative and moving tale retold by an old grandson of his parents' experiences in 1886 during a harsh winter in Colorado that created a family tradition of placing a carving of a pair of geese and goslings in a spruce tree. The book instills a respect for nature -- the strength of the elements of nature and the caring of people for other living beings. It evokes the spirit of giving, the hope of humanity and the majestic beauty of the season.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  The Great Kapok Tree

by Lynne Cherry

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

"The animals who inhabit a certain rainforest tree beg a man with an ax to leave their tree standing. They take turns explaining how the tree provides for some aspect of their respective livelihoods. Eventually, the man begins to notice the beauty of the rainforest and its creatures, so he is persuaded to spare the tree. Brilliant watercolors depict the rainforest landscape and the animals who are affected by its desecration." From Bringing the World Alive: A Bibliography of Nature Stories for Children, published by The Orion Society.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (November/December 1993 & Winter 1997-1998 issues) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Grow it Again

by Elizabeth MacLeod

PAPERBACK
Flora : Gardening
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Seeds, plant and root tops, bulbs and tubers of vegetables and fruits that are often discarded from the kitchen can be grown again to create beautiful gardens of unusual flowering or leafy plants. Detailed, illustrated instructions are provided for the planting, growing and care of the plants. Besides recipes (carrot-pineapple muffins, sesame seed bars, baked apples, fruit salad and guacamole) that use fruits or vegetables, parts of which can later be planted, this creative activity books provides ideas for craft projects, including decorating pots and making milk/juice carton planters, seed necklaces and pressed flowers.

See also:
Elizabeth Scholl's Organic Gardening for Kids
Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening
Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup
Rosalind Creasy's Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes

      Grades: Activities for Preschool & up

  The Happiness Tree

by Andrea Alban Gosline

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"Everything good begins with me, " starts the verse by the acorn to the mother oak tree. The Happiness Tree celebrates the beauty and simple gifts of trees assigning attributes such as hope, courage, love and compassion to ten different North American trees. Complemented by lyrical text and imagery, this is an imaginative and inspirational book to protect and care for one of Earth’s most precious resources and to value the natural world. After the end of the verse, each of the ten species of trees is identified by its attribute and described with interesting, factual information. An index of the fifty state trees is also included as well as a note to "Plant a Happiness Tree on Arbor Day".

The attributes and trees in this book are:
Hope – White Oak
Love – Yellow Poplar
Courage – White Pine
Gratitude – Sugar Maple
Peace – Flowering Dogwood
Compassion – American Elm
Tolerance – Blue Spruce
Generosity – Southern Magnolia
Honesty – Paper Birch
Happiness – Redwood

Printed on Recycled Paper (50% post-consumer waste) -- to save trees.

For more information about Arbor Day, visit:
National Arbor Day Foundation.

See also:
Patricia Lauber's, Be a Friend to Trees
Diane Iverson's, My Favorite Tree
Dana Lyon's, The Tree
Alvin Tresselt's, The Gift of the Tree

      Grades: All

  Here is the Tropical Rain Forest

by Madeleine Dunphy

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Narrating in a cumulative, rhythmic format, Dunphy presents the interdependence of animals and plants of the Central and South American rain forests. In the lush and wet world of the tropical forest, where a frog is sheltered by the bromeliad hanging from a tree, monkeys flee an eagle hunting a sloth that hangs from the tree, and a jaguar stalks peccaries eating figs dropped by the monkeys. Exquisite, double-spread paintings that complement the text capture the rich diversity and interrelatedness of life as well as the unique environment of this endangered ecosystem.

See also:
Madeleine Dunphy's Here is the Wetland

        Grades: Kindergarten to 3rd

  How the Forest Grew

by William Jaspersohn

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Over a period of two hundred years an abandoned open farm field gradually transforms through successive stages into a dense hardwood forest. As Jaspersohn explains, although he writes about a hardwood forest in Massachusetts, this book could be about many other forests since they pass through similar stages of growth. Tracing the succession of various species of plants and trees, the author also presents the parallel changes of animals and other life forms on the forest floor that inhabit the various stages of growth. Eckart's numerous delicate black and white drawings beautifully capture imagery of the life forms that abound in the forest and illustrate the gradual transformations of this hardwood forest in Massachusetts over time.

        Grades: 3rd & up

  In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree

by Barbara Bash

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

"In this luminous book, Barbara Bash takes the reader on a daylong visit into the world of one of India's sacred banyan trees. The striking authenticity of every image makes it apparent that Bash traveled to India to research this book. On each beautiful page we can see the banyan as a place for villagers to worship, for egrets to nest, for craftsmen to barter, for birds to converse, for children to play, for owls to sleep and so on through the day and into the night, until early the next morning it becomes a place for a mongoose to watch the approaching dawn. Young readers will discover that the tree is not only an ecosystem for the birds and mammals that reside there, but also an integral part of the broader community, which includes the human inhabitants of the village." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (March/April 1997) published by CCEL.

A creation story, adapted from an Indian folktale, opens the book and recounts how the banyan tree began to grow in the heart of the village to give shade to the people.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Jack's Garden

by Henry Cole

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Gardening

Detailed, colored pencil drawings by the author bring children into the world of gardening through the evolving narrative of "Jack's Garden". Beginning with an image of Jack standing shovel in hand in an empty dirt plot, "This is the garden that Jack planted", the text and imagery carry children through the gradual transformations of his garden, through the sprouting of seeds, the growth of the plants and the formation of buds as well as into the bustling activity of birds and insects when the garden blooms. The last scene showing Jack in the midst of his flowering garden cycles back to the beginning of the book -- "This is the garden that Jack planted". Labeled drawings in the margins of the double-spread illustrations add detailed information to each scene with imagery of various tools, plants and seeds, insects, birds and their eggs.

See also:
Lynne Cherry's How Groundhog's Garden Grew

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Leaf Man

by Lois Ehlert

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Dazzling, colorful, autumnal leaves whirl across shaped pages as the leaf man travels wherever the wind blows. At every turn of a page beautiful cut leaf collages form into images of animals and plants that the leaf man comes across as he drifts over farms and marshes, past orchards and prairie meadows, and over lakes, rivers and mountains through a lyrical celebration of the beauty of autumn.

See also: Lois Ehlert's Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, a picture book about the life cycle of a sugar maple tree.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  A Log's Life

by Wendy Pfeffer

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Images of colorful, three-dimensional, cut-paper collages illustrate this fascinating book which takes children on a journey through the life cycle of a tree. After a large oak tree that is the habitat for animals is felled by lightning, seasonal variations over the years witness the coming and going of a variety of creatures that inhabit and feed off the log. Eventually, the rich soil of the decomposed log nourishes an acorn which starts over the life cycle of a new oak tree.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  The Man Who Planted Trees

by Jean Giono

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

This poetic, moving tale set in southern France describes a man who daily planted acorns in a desolate area of Provence and over time transformed the land into a magnificent oak forest. Taking place before and after the two world wars, this sublime tale of reforestation, complemented by beautiful woodcut engravings, will inspire both children and adults.

Recommended in Nature's Course (March/April 1993) published by CCEL.

      Grades: 6th and up

  My Favorite Tree

by Diane Iverson

PAPERBACK
Flora : Trees & Forests
Field Guides & Activity Books 

My Favorite Tree is an informative children’s guide to the variety of trees that are native to Canada, Mexico or the United States. The trees were chosen by author and illustrator Diane Iverson for their varied habitats, geographic areas and their role in the balance of nature. Each tree has a full-page illustration of children enjoying their favorite tree, while the facing page contains interesting factual information about the tree’s habitat and map, its physical characteristics, its uses by wildlife as well as its traditional and historical importance to Natives and Colonists. Besides a glossary and information about organizations protecting trees, the 27 trees described in this guide are: Green Ash, Quaking Aspen, Paper Birch, Eastern Red Cedar, Black Cherry, Fremont Cottonwood, Flowering Dogwood, American Elm, American Holly, Honeylocust, Joshua Tree, Southern Magnolia, Sugar Maple, Bur Oak, Gambel Oak, ‘Ohi’a Lehua (Hawaiian), Cabbage Palmetto, Common Persimmon, Ponderosa Pine, Eastern Redbud, Coast Redwood, Giant Saguaro, White Spruce, Sweet Gum, American Sycamore, Black Walnut and Pacific Yew.

      Grades: 1st to 6th

  National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Trees

by Brian Cassie and Marjorie Burns

PAPERBACK
Flora : Trees & Forests
Field Guides & Activity Books 

This excellent guide to the trees of North America includes vivid photographs of species found in the United States and Canada as well as clear, basic explanations of tree anatomy and photosynthesis.

        Grades: 3rd & Up

  National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Wildflowers

by Susan Hood

PAPERBACK
Flora : Plants & Flowers
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Beautiful photographs of wildflowers complement this field guide offering descriptions of wildflower species found in various regions of North America. Information about physical characteristics for identification, floral anatomy, reproduction, range of habitats and endangered wildflower species, as well as a laminated spotter's guide, offer young naturalists a valuable resource for the study of wildflowers.

        Grades: 3rd & Up

  Night Tree

by Eve Bunting

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

An annual family tradition provides the festive, yet intimate, setting for a Christmas Eve celebration in the woods. After decorating a live tree with food of popcorn chains, sunflower balls and fruits and scattering bread crumbs and nuts for little creatures that cannot climb well, the family shares songs under the moonlit sky. Later at home, the boy delights in imagining the feast of the woodland animals at their decorated tree.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Once There Was A Tree

by Natalia Romanova

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Originally published in Moscow in 1983, this delicately illustrated picture book shows the life that continues in and around a tree stump once an old tree, split by lighting, is felled to the ground. Describing the variety of creatures, namely ants, beetles, bears, birds and people, that all use the tree stump as a home, a source of food as well as a resting place, the simple and direct prose shows the interconnectedness of nature and poses a question to whom a tree belongs -- "The tree belongs to all, because it grows from the earth that is home for all."

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  One Small Place in a Tree

by Barbara Brenner

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Over time a small scratch made by a bear grows as a hole deeper into the trunk of a tree. Yet as the hole weakens the oak, it serves as a home to beetles, fungi, squirrels, snakes, salamanders, frogs and birds. Even after bacteria spreads and the tree dies, the hollow in the dead trunk continues to be used over many years by woodland animals for shelter. Vivid, detailed illustrations draw readers into this one small place in an oak, a hidden world teeming with wondrous life.

      Grades: 2nd to 4th

  Organic Gardening for Kids

by Elizabeth Scholl

HARDCOVER
Flora : Gardening
Field Guides & Activity Books 

Organic Gardening for Kids offers a wealth of information for young gardeners to create gardens to grow food and ornamentals without the use of harmful chemicals. Kids will learn what kind of plants can be grown based on soil and sun requirements, why to use compost to enrich the soil, and how to deal with pests and weeds. There are instructions to design and maintain all types of gardens -- perennial, vegetable, herb, butterfly and water -- as well as terrariums and container gardens. Craft projects include the building of a worm composter and a rain gauge.

To learn more about organic gardening, visit:
Rodale's Organic Gardening and Gardening with Kids
Lilly Dunn's Organic Gardening For Kids

Learn also about the Victory Garden Initiative to grow food.

See also:
Catherine Paladino's One Good Apple: Growing Our Food for the Sake of the Earth
Laurie Carlson's Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening
Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup

      Grades: 3rd to 7th

  Planting a Rainbow

by Lois Ehlert

HARDCOVER
Flora : Gardening

With bold, large, colorful illustrations and direct, simple text, a child narrates how together with the mother they plant bulbs, seeds and seedlings and watch the profusion of color that eventually blossoms. The child then describes by color the assortment of flowers growing in their garden. This is a brilliantly, colorful introduction to the basics of the cycle of gardening through the seasons for young children.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden

by George Levenson

HARDCOVER
Flora : Gardening
Flora  : Plants & Flowers

Rhyming text accompanied by stunning photographs show the circle of growth from seed to pumpkin to seed. Young readers can explore close-ups of imagery of the pumpkin plant's buds and tendrils, observe the developing pumpkin growing and changing color and learn about planting, growing and harvesting. Instructions for growing pumpkins are provided at the end of the book.

        Grades: Pre-School to 2nd

  Pumpkin Pumpkin

by Jeanne Titherington

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Gardening

A child discovers the wonders of planting a seed which he watches sprout and grow into a big pumpkin that he carves into a Jack-O-Lantern from which he saves seeds for planting next spring. The simple text and delicately illustrated drawings show the child's fascination and joy in observing nature unfold.

        Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Redwoods

by Jason Chin

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Habitats & Ecosystems 

As he reads a book on a subway, a boy’s imagination transports him into a forest of western coast redwoods where he explores the wonders of these magnificent giants, some of the oldest trees in the world. This visually imaginative book, beautifully illustrated, factually describes the amazing structure and growth of these trees from the forest floor to the canopy as well as their important role in the ecosystem as a habitat for many other plants and animals, including endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl, the red tree vole and the marbled murrelet -- all live only in old growth forests. This experiential book is a treasure of information for children about the uniqueness and importance of redwood trees.

To learn more about redwood conservation, visit: Save the Redwoods League

See also:
Dana Lyons' The Tree
Kathy Baron's The Tree of Time: A Story of a Special Sequoia
Carol Reed-Jones' The Tree in the Ancient Forest
Linda Vieira's The Ever-Living Tree: The Life and Times of a Coast Redwood

      Grades: Preschool to 4th

  The Shaman's Apprentice

by Lynne Cherry

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

When the faith of the indigenous people in the shaman's wisdom is destroyed, Kamanya, a Tirio Indian boy of the Amazon rain forest, continues to emulate Nahtahla, the medicine man to whom he serves as an apprentice to learn the secrets of the healing properties of native plants. The arrival of a foreign researcher, who explains the native source of quinine to cure malaria, restores the local people's faith in the traditional shaman's wisdom.

"The story is based upon real events and people in the Amazon rain forest and is lovingly told from Kamanya's point of view. His sense of gratitude, dismay and finally pride for the knowledge of his people shine through in the quietly circumspect prose of Cherry and Plotkin. Cherry's rich, deep paintings bring the lushness of the Suriname rain forest to life. The endpapers are a wonderful learning tool -- illustrations of indigenous plants, their Tirio and English names and their uses." Excerpt of review from Nature's Course (Spring 1998) published by CCEL.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Song for the Ancient Forest

by Nancy Luenn

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Written in the style of Native American legends, Luenn's fictional narrative conveys the importance of preserving the ancient old growth forests. When Raven the Trickster sings his song warning of the destruction of these forests to the people who live there, he is not believed by the Native Americans and later not understood by the settlers. As more trees are felled and the forests disappear, Raven watches till one day his song is finally heard by a young girl who then conveys the importance of the conservation of these forests to her father, a logger. The lyrical oil paintings capture the beauty and mood of ancient old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest as well as illustrate scenes of the human inhabitants in this region and the effects of logging.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost

HARDCOVER
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

The classic poem by the great American poet is richly illustrated by the beautiful artwork of Susan Jeffers and brings to readers the wondrous beauty and mystery of winter in the frosty New England scenery.

      Grades: Preschool & up

  Sunflower House

by Eve Bunting

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Plants & Flowers

From carefully tended seeds grows a circle of yellow sunflowers that becomes an imaginative setting of a castle, a cage, a picnic area and, at night, a sleep area. The rhythmic verse follows a boy through the experiences of planting, weeding and watering through his observations of the emerging plants to his play with friends in the varied settings of his sunflower house. At the end of the summer they discover that, although their sunflower circle is wilting, there are seeds to be collected for the birds and for next year's house of sunflowers.

        Grades: Preschool to 1st

  The Tree in the Ancient Forest

by Carol Reed-Jones

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Carol Reed-Jones portrays the remarkable ways that inhabitants of the forest depend upon one another for survival and the amazing web of plants and animals living around a single old fir tree. An informative guide of the forest creatures and their interrelationship as well as the role of ancient forests follows the verse.

Reviewed in Nature's Course (March/April 1996) published by CCEL.

        Grades: Preschool to 5th

  A Tree is Growing

by Arthur Dorros

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Beautifully illustrated with textured line and colored pencil drawings by the botanist Schindler, "A Tree is Growing" offers young readers a concise introduction to the growth and seasonal transformations of a tree. The function of photosynthesis, the role of leaves, roots, bark and sap as well as flowering and the formation of seeds and growth rings are all lucidly presented. Although the main text of the double-spread pages focuses primarily on trees of the temperate zone, the insets offer insights into exotic species such as the baobab and the banyan trees.

      Grades: 1st to 3rd

  Tree of Life: The World of the African Baobab

by Barbara Bash

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

According to a legend of the African bushmen, the baobab tree was planted upside down by the careless hyena, which is why its branches look like gnarled roots. Barbara Bash introduces this vividly illustrated text with African folklore and then follows the life cycle of the baobab trees that stand in the landscape of the dry African savannah, living more than one thousand years. The coming of the rainy season marks the arrival of birds, as the tree sprouts leaves on its branches. Soon the baobab is teeming with life, with insects scampering and eating the foliage. At night the bushbabies and bats emerge to drink the nectar of the flowers that bloom on the baobab. Then, the next morning the flowers that have fallen from the tree provide food for the impalas. After the rains have ended, the leaves fall to the ground exposing the branches of the baobab, where life still teems in nests of birds and with baboons eating the fruit of the tree. When the fruits are gone, the silence of the tree is broken by snakes, chameleons and insects crawling over the barren branches. To the African people the tree is a rich source of honey, of bark that is used to make baskets and rope, of fruit, and of roots and leaves used for medicine.

      Grades: 1st to 5th

  Tremendous Tree Book

by Barbara Brenner

PAPERBACK
Flora : Trees & Forests

Told in simple rhyme, verses celebrate the marvels of trees. Cut-paper collage spreads, with succinct verses on topics such as the size, age, types, leaves and seeds of trees, are accompanied by fine line drawings of a raccoon and squirrel that supplement the information of each passage. Simple presentations span a wide range of topics as a fascinating introduction to the importance of trees.

      Grades: Preschool to 2nd

  Waiting for Wings

by Lois Ehlert

HARDCOVER
Animals : Spineless Creatures
Flora  : Gardening

The beautiful imagery and design of this picture book will enrapture readers of all ages as they follow the life cycle of a butterfly. The metamorphosis of the butterflies begins on small, partial pages where eggs lie hidden on leaves amidst the full spread pages of colorful foliage. Gradually, as the transitions of the stages of the life cycle unfold, the butterflies spread out and travel through the full-page, colorful floral imagery. Information about the anatomy and characteristics of butterflies, butterfly attracting flowers as well as instructions for growing a butterfly garden are also included at the end of the book.

See also:
Melissa Stewart's A Place for Butterflies

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  We Planted a Tree

by Diane Muldrow

HARDCOVER
Flora : Trees & Forests
Environmental Themes  : Extinction & Conservation

Two families at different parts of the globe plant one tree and in so doing "helped heal the earth". As the children and trees grow, more families plant trees to make the Earth healthier. As time passes and the trees grow, fruits and sap are made; the air becomes cleaner and the soil is healthier so crops may be planted; birds and other animals appear to live with the trees. Staake’s evocative artwork depicts scenes where trees grow around the globe -- the backyards of New York City, the plains of Africa, the woods of New England, the streets of Paris and the gardens of Japan. This lyrical book notes the words of Wangari Maathai of the Green Belt Movement, "When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope."

To learn more about tree planting programs, visit:
Wangari Maathai's The Green Belt Movement
UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign
The Arbor Day Foundation

See also:
Vera Rosenberry's The Growing-up Tree
Claire A. Nivola's Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
Jeanette Winter's Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
Donna Jo Napoli's Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  What About Ladybugs

by Celia Godkin

PAPERBACK
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Gardening

When a gardener decides to rid his thriving garden of "harmful" insects by spraying the plants with a bug killer, he discovers that the flowers, fruits and vegetables no longer thrive. The aphids as well as the ants and wasps proliferate since the ladybugs that controlled the aphids are no longer part of the garden ecosystem. When the ladybugs are reintroduced, the delicate natural balance as well as the beauty of the garden are restored. Accompanied by color, double-page illustrations, that include close-ups of the various insects, this picture book introduces young readers to the ecology of a garden, presenting the important role of ladybugs.

      Grades: Preschool to 3rd

  Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?

by Jennifer Blomgren

HARDCOVER
Habitats & Ecosystems
Flora  : Trees & Forests

Jennifer Blomgren begins her book -- "A long time ago, on a big mossy log, on the floor of a forest all covered in fog, a seed from a cone fell onto the wood and reached for the sun just as fast as it could." Celebrating the ecosystem found on and around the conifer, the beautifully illustrated lyrical verse of this picture book explores the diversity of plants and creatures that abound in the habitat of the Pacific Northwest -- bears, salamanders, cow elk, black-tailed deer, silver-haired bats, pine martens, spotted owls, flying squirrels, pine-white butterflies, murrelets, creepers, nuthatches, as well as lichens, mosses and wildflowers. The double-page pastel spreads provide a wealth of images for young readers to explore the life teeming in and around the evergreen and to appreciate the importance of trees.

      Grades: Preschool & up

  Winter Trees

by Carole Gerber

PAPERBACK
Experience of Nature
Flora  : Trees & Forests

On a snowy winter day a boy and his dog take a walk through a forest where they observe the trees and animals, draw maple syrup and build a snowman. Simple, yet poetic, text and graphic illustrations evoke the quiet stillness and describe the forms of seven trees in winter – sugar maple, American beech, paper birch, yellow poplar, bur oak, Eastern hemlock and white spruce.

        Grades: Preschool to 2nd