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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Jason Chin

Books about Trees

With hats off to our friends at the tree-festooned Iowa ArboretumMinnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Gardens, and Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens, this list is dedicated to arborists everywhere, professional and amateur … you take care of an essential part of our ecosystem. Thank you. Here’s a list of books for younger and older children, fiction and nonfiction. We hope you’ll savor each one.

Celebritrees  

Celebritrees: Historic  & Famous Trees of the World
written by Margi Preus, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
Henry Holt, 2011

Preus tells the true stories of fourteen outstanding trees from around the world, including a bristlecone pine in California that is 4,000 years old and the Tree of One Hundred Horses in England that sheltered the Queen of Aragon and her soldiers during a rainstorm. Back matter includes additional information about tree varieties in the book, a bibliography, and website links. Illustrated throughout this is a charming book for ages 8 and up.

The Cherry Tree

 

Cherry Tree
written by Ruskin Bond, illustrated by Manoj A. Menon
Penguin Books, 2012

In northern India, young Rakhi plants a cherry tree in the Himalayan foothills where fruit trees are sparse. She nurtures it and cares for it and grows older along with the tree.  A gentle, reflective story. Ages 3 to 7.

Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Trees  

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees
written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky
Simon & Schuster, 1992

Crinkleroot is a wise woodsman who takes readers on a journey through the forest, sharing wisdom about hardwood and softwood forests and the importance of a mixed forest for a healthy ecosystem for plants, animals, and insects. Crinkleroot shares how trees get their shapes, that dead trees play an important role, and the factors that play a role in a tree’s development. It’s fascinating information and the watercolor illustrations are engaging. Ages 4 to 8.

Grandpa Green  

Grandpa Green
written and illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2011

As a farm boy grows older, he shapes topiary in a garden that reflects his memories. Noah Galvin, a child, learns more about his great-grandfather as he wanders through the narrative of this garden, growing to understand that Grandpa Green did not lead an ordinary life. There are details on each page that provide a layered reading experience and there is ample impetus for discussion. This book would be helpful after the loss of a loved one. Caldecott Honor book. Ages 4 to 11.

Lord of the Rings  

Lord of the Rings
written by J.R.R. Tolkien
George Allen and Unwin, as well as Houghton Mifflin, 1965

The epic story of good battling evil in Middle Earth, focusing on the story of the hobbit Frodo Baggins and his companion Sam Gamgee traveling to Mordor to throw the Ring into the fires there, thus ending the cycles of greed and wars for power, cannot be overlooked in a booklist of trees. More than trees, but appearing as trees, the Ents are an old and wise race, slow to action but a turning point in the quest and the final war that frees Middle Earth from Sauron’s tyranny. Ages 10 and up.

Redwoods  

Redwoods
written and illustrated by Jason Chin
Flash Point, 2009

When a boy discovers a book about redwoods while waiting for his subway train, reading it takes him to explore the trees in his imagination, showing the reader facts about these trees, some of which are as old as the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers appear next to him on the train, helping him understand the historical context. As he emerges from the subway, he is in the midst of the redwoods in California, offering him an opportunity to explore their habitat and their surroundings. The watercolor illustrations are stunning and filled with ways to observe these trees that are among the oldest and most magnificent on Earth. An intentional blend of fact and fantasy, readers from age 3 to 9 will find this absorbing.

Swiss Family Robinson  

The Swiss Family Robinson
written by Johann D. Wyss,
William Godwin, 1816 (originally published in German in 1812).
Penguin Books, 2012 (closely adheres to Godwin edition)

A pastor’s family is cast up on an island in the South Pacific after their ship founders and sinks. Fortunately, their ship was full of supplies that wash up on shore. It’s an action-packed adventure in which the island’s trees provide sustenance and shelter. This book may be solely responsible for people’s dreams of living in treehouses. This will be a challenging but worthwhile classic for ages 10 and up

The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups  

Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups
written and illustrated by Gila Ingoglia, ASLA
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2008, updated in 2013

A clear-spirited book about the importance of trees, with guides for identifying their flowers, leaves, and shapes. You’ll learn about feeding systems, ancestry, and the roles they play in our lives. The illustrations are essential to this book and our understanding. It’s an essential guide for children and parents to enjoy together, learning while enjoying the information presented about 33 tree species, most of which are native to North America. Ages 4 and up.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
written by Betty Smith
Harper & Brothers, 1943

In this classic story of immigrants trying to improve their circumstances in Brooklyn from 1902 to 1919, Francie Nolan, her brother Neely, and their parents go through tough times as immigrants who are shunned, struggling through near-starvation but persevering as a family whose love pulls them through. Francie is an engaging character who grows, much like the tree outside the window of their tenement, because she is resourceful and finds joy in simple pleasures, books, and her family. Ages 12 and up.

A Tree is Nice  

A Tree is Nice
written and illustrated by Janice May Udry
HarperCollins, 1987

For the very young, this book explores all of the many benefits that trees bring to our lives. From planting trees, to enjoying their shade, to using their branches for drawing in the sand, this charming book will foster a respect for the trees around us. Caldecott medal. Ages 3 to 8.

The Tree Lady  

Tree Lady:
the True Story of How One Woman Changed a City Forever
written by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Beach Lane Books, 2013

In 1881, Katherine Olivia Sessions was the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science. Although she moved to San Diego to teach, she quickly became involved in her dream to bring greenery to the city’s desert climate. She wrote to people around the world to request seeds that would thrive in this area, planting and nurturing trees that would create San Diego’s City Park and grow throughout the city. In 1915, the Panama-California Exposition was held in the park, providing a lush setting for the world to experience. With a foundation of science, a sense of biography, and evocative illustrations, this is a beauty to inspire new tree lovers. For ages 5 to 11.

Tree of Life  

Tree of Life: the World of the African Baobab, written and illustrated by Barbara Bash, Sierra Club Books, 2002

In this dramatically illustrated book, we learn of the life cycle of this long-lived and hearty tree that survives in the desert, providing shelter and sustenance for insects, birds, animals, and humans. It’s a wonderful book for teaching interdependence and learning more about the African savannah. Ages 4 to 10.

Tree of Wonder  

Tree of Wonder: the Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree
written by Kate Messner, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
Chronicle Books, 2015

In Latin America, the rain forest is home to the Almendro tree, which hosts more than 10,000 organisms, including a great green macaw and a blue morpho butterfly. The number of creatures double with each turn of the page so that the sense of the enormity of life inside this tree can be understood. It is a math book, an ecology book, and a poetry book that will be enjoyed in your classroom or home. Ages 6 to 11.

Tree, Leaves and Bark  

Trees, Leaves and Bark
written by Diane Burns and Linda Garrow
Cooper Square Publishing, 1995

From crown to roots, a great deal of information is presented in a friendly, understandable way about tree seeds and grown trees. It’s a good take-along guide for identifying leaves in the forest and urban settings. Ages 8 and up.

Wangari Trees of Peace  

Wangari’s Trees of Peace
written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008

In this true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, we follow her life from a young girl growing up in Kenya to her founding of the Green Belt Movement. Alarmed to see large swaths of trees being cut down, she enlists the help of other women to plant trees in their surroundings. Today, more than 30,000,000 trees have been planted through her efforts. One person can make a difference. Winter’s illustrations are warm and enlightening. Ages 4 to 12.

Winter Trees  

Winter Trees
written by Carole Gerber, illustrated by Leslie Evans
Charlesbridge Books, 2009

Illustrated with woodcuts, this book helps children and their parents identify trees in the wintertime when their leaves have fallen and the skeletal structure of the trees helps us see more clearly how the tree grows. The narrative takes a closer look at seven trees, including the sugar maple, burr oak, and paper birch. Ages 3 to 8.

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Gravity

Gravity

What is gravity? I have a notion (after many years of school) that it keeps my feet touching the ground. When I jump into the air, I am defying gravity. What is Gravity? A book. Written and illustrated by Jason Chin, who previously gifted us with Redwoods and Coral Island and Galapagos. He has a […]

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