One Million Trees

Balouch, Kristen. One Million Trees: a True Story. New York: Holiday House, 2022.
This is the true story of how the author – when she was ten years old – spent a summer planting trees. She and her parents and her sisters flew from California to B.C. to join a crew planting seedlings between the stumps of trees cut down by loggers. Camping in the wilderness, they worked for forty days until they had planted one million trees. This intriguing picture book – filled with informative details – is highly recommended for readers 7 to 12 years old. Or for anyone curious about the life of a tree planter.

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Johnston, Tony. Trees. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021.
A gorgeous picture book, perfect for reading aloud to a group of children. The pages are large, 24 by 30 centimetres. The words are minimal, placed in the middle of illustrations designed to evoke an emotional response. An afterword lists the names of the trees depicted, a list of books and articles for further reading, and notes from both the author and illustrator. Beautifully designed, this new nonfiction book by a prolific writer is recommended for ages 4 to 10.

P.S. Teachers of older students might like to use this book as part of a cross-disciplinary study of science, art (drawing from different perspectives), and writing (using figures of speech).

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A Busy Year

Lionni, Leo. A Busy Year. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021.
Two mice – twins – befriend a tree on the first day of a new year. Every month – as the seasons change – they visit her and care for her until it is winter once again. A charming board book – with a humorous Christmas surprise at the end – recommended for children 4 to 8 years old.

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Seeds of Change

Johnson, Jen Cullerton. Seeds Of Change. New York: Lee And Low Books, 2010.
There was only one woman. There was only one seed. One ray of hope for the future. Wangari grew up in the Shadow of Mount Kenya, hearing stories about the people and land that surrounded her. Despite the fact that the trees towered over her, she had adored them for as long as she could remember. The trees made her smile because they were so strong and beautiful. Wangari refilled her spirit by planting trees, one by one. She found the trees very strong! Wow! This adventurous book makes the appearance of trees different to me!
Something interesting I noticed about this book was that it teaches kids to take care of the planet! – Harleen in grade 6

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The Beauty of the Trees

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock, British advocate for science education and shorter working hours

In the early 1800s, an American travelled through Ohio and Indiana planting apple trees. John Chapman planted hundreds and hundreds of trees, so many that he became known as Johnny Appleseed. Learn more about him in…

Seed by Seed

Codell, Esme Raji. Seed by Seed: the Legend and Legacy of Johnny ‘Appleseed’. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2012.

In the late 1800s, an American moved to San Diego in southern California. Kate Sessions decided her new city needed more greenery, so she planted hundred and hundreds of trees and taught countless people how to grow gardens. She became known as the Mother of Balboa Park. Learn more about her in…

The Tree Lady

Hopkins, H. Joseph. The Tree Lady: the True Story of How One Tree-loving Woman Changed a City Forever. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2013.

“I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.”

– Ogden Nash, American poet

At the end of the 20th century, a Kenyan woman was dismayed to discover that her beautiful country was becoming dry and dusty because so many trees were being cut down. So Wangari Maathai started planting trees and teaching other women how to plant trees. In 2004, she became the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Learn more about her in these three beautiful books…

Mama Miti

Napoli, Donna Jo. Mama Mita: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Planting the Trees

Nivola, Claire A. Planting the Trees of Kenya: the Story of Wangari Maathai. New York: Francis Foster Books / Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Wangari's Trees

Winter, Jeanette. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: a True Story from Africa. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2008.

Here is one more picture book about Wangari Maathai. The illustrations are not quite as powerful. The text does not flow as beautifully.  But there is so much information…

Seeds of Change

Johnson, Jen Cullerton. Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace. New York: Lee & Low Books, 2010.

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.

– Chief Dan George, Coast Salish poet

More biographies: HERE

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