SubTopic: Trees & Forests

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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

  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