6 Books to Teach Kids about Trees
“Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.”
― Munia Khan
Trees. They are a vital part of our everyday life and they inspire us in countless ways. Teaching your children about trees is a wonderful way to introduce them to the natural world in all its awe-inspiring mystery. The following six books about trees are some of our favorites. We hope that they encourage you and your family to see trees in a new way, to get outside and explore the trees around you, and maybe even to plant a tree of your own.
BOOK #1: A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry
“A tree is nice to plant. Every day for years and years, you watch the little tree grow. You say to people, ‘I planted that tree.’ They wish they had one so they go home and plant a tree too."
A Tree is Nice is a simple story that explains why trees are beautiful, fun, and important. You can swing from them, sit in their shade, get sticks to draw with, and sleep under a tree.
BOOK #2: We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow
“We planted a tree and it grew up, And so did we.”
We Planted a Tree is an illustrated poem that follows two young families in two different parts of the world who plant a tree. Again, the story is simple, but it celebrates the life and hope that trees in every part of the world bring to our planet.
BOOK #3: Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel
“He quickly worked his way into your lives as a swing holder, target, third base, hiding place, jump-rope turner….Friends like this are hard to find.”
Written as a letter to the author’s children, Our Tree Named Steve tells a tale about Steve, a massive and unusual looking tree that instantly becomes part of the family when they move into their new home. Dad writes to his children while they are away to tell them that Steve is no longer the tree he once was, but in doing so, reminds the children of the meaning of true friendship and the way that a family is bound together.
BOOK #4: The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins
“Meet Kate Sessions, a young woman with a grand passion for trees. She has guts. She has vigor. And she has a vision - a green, leafy vision that will one day transform a city.”
A true story about a woman named Kate Sessions who arrived in San Diego in 1883 to a dusty, barren landscape. Kate was from northern California, loved trees, and had gone to college to study botany (which was highly unusual at the time). Kate started a nursery and through her tenacity and vision, San Diego became a lush, beautiful landscape.
BOOK #5: Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter
“We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own - indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder.” - Wangari Maathai
Alluded to by Diane Muldrow in her book We Planted a Tree (see Book #2), Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa is about Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist, Wangari Maathai. Wangari Maathai was born in Kenya in 1940. Eventually she won a scholarship to study in America. When she returns to Kenya, she is sad to see that thousands of trees had been cut down to make room for buildings. In response, she starts planting trees and gets other women to plant trees too. By 2004, 30 million trees had been planted in Kenya and beyond.
BOOK #6: The Tree Book For Kids and Their Grown-Ups by Gina Ingoglia
“It’s good to know about trees. They are all around us and important to us in so many ways.”
The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups is a guide to trees in North America. The first few chapters explain how trees work - their roots, trunk, branches, bark, and leaves. The final chapters are beautiful illustrations and descriptions of 33 trees commonly found in North America. Encyclopedic in style, but approachable and easy-to-understand, this is a great book for older kids who are ready to learn more about trees.
Are you inspired to plant a tree? We have one for you! Check out our Little Saps online store and help us plant more trees!