The Top 15 Children’s Books About Trees
Last year, we put together a list of our favorite books about reclaimed wood. Now, it’s time to share a few of our favorite titles for younger readers. These 15 books are all age-appropriate for young children and prominently feature trees. Let us know what titles we should add to the list!
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss Wind your way through familiar Seussian rhyme, nonsense words, and colorful pen-and-ink line art. In The Lorax, the soft, sweet-smelling Truffula Trees are sadly cut to extinction and knitted into unnecessary Thneeds. Children turn the pages and learn how the clean, cheerful environment fades as the animals are forced to move away. Although the Lorax, who speaks for the trees, does his best to plead their case, it’s a dismal end, unless …
“Maple” by Lori Nichols An endearing book about a little girl named Maple and the tree planted by her parents in her honor. Maple and her tree grow and are the best of friends, sharing the joys of the changing seasons and challenges of human emotion. One day, however, something surprising happens: a little sister named Willow is born and another baby tree is planted for her. A story about love, growth and friendship. Tender illustrations are pencil-on-Mylar and digitally colored.
“Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event” by Rebecca Bond A true story from a century past about the collection of people who live together in a hotel at the edge of a lake in Canada. One hot summer day, fire breaks out in the surrounding forest. What happens next is a powerful event that gives readers reason to appreciate the common ground that can be found with the animals that live all around us. The charming ink and watercolor illustrations feel right at home.
“Miss Twiggley’s Tree” by Dorothea Warren Fox The old-fashioned feel of this book belies a timeless message of bravery, generosity, acceptance, and community. Miss Twiggley is certainly eccentric, as one quickly learns reading Warren’s pleasant rhyming verse. When the town finds itself in crisis and need, Miss Twiggley steps up and opens up her wonderful treehouse to all. Clever illustrations and quirky characters.
“The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest” by Lynne Cherry A man begins to chop down a Kapok tree, stops to rest, and falls asleep. Animals whisper in his ear, share their part in the forest, and beg him not to cut down the tree. The last voice belongs to a Yąnomamö child. When the man awakens, he looks into their eyes and makes a new choice. The colorful watercolor and colored pencil illustrations brilliantly convey the lush rain forest, and the story speaks to all ages.
“Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story From Africa” by Jeanette Winter An inspiring biography with color illustrations, about Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The story tells how she planted trees after witnessing the deforestation of Kenya and encouraged other women to do the same. Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement to re-establish the green canopy and accompanying fertile soil. A solid example of how one person’s vision can make a positive difference in the world.
“Little Tree” by Loren Long A gentle story about a little tree who is afraid to let his leaves drop. He holds tightly for many years, watching as the other trees from his youth shed their leaves each fall and grow tall. He finally realizes – with the support and encouragement of the animals around him – that he can let go. You’ll cheer him on in this sweet success story with beautiful, simple acrylic, ink, and pencil illustrations.
“The Giving Tree” by Shell Silverstein A well-known and touching story about a tree who loves, seemingly lives, and ultimately dies to give her gifts to a boy. At the same time it is also the story of a boy-turned-old man who accepts these gifts and loves the tree for her generosity. The simple pen-and-ink, black-and-white drawings befit a message that has appealed to readers for decades.
“Crinkleroot’s Guide To Knowing The Trees” by Jim Arnosky The author’s friendly woodsman appears in this field guide to trees for children. The book contains a treasure of information about hard and softwoods, from the anatomy and various seed and leaf shapes of different species to an explanation of the role of trees in the forest and the tree lifecycle. It invites the reader to observe and appreciate forests. The pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are clear and informative.
“The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, Illustrated by Robert Lawson In Spain, Ferdinand the bull grows up to be big and strong. One day he is accidentally chosen for the bullfights in Madrid, where the crowd and bullfighters are impressed and hopeful for an epic battle. They are disappointed, however, because Ferdinand refuses to fight. Ultimately, he is rewarded with his utmost wish, to sit under his favorite cork tree and smell the flowers.
“House Held Up By Trees” by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen An interesting, somewhat melancholy and mysterious story with beautiful illustrations about a house that lives through several life phases: a neat and perfectly controlled and “civilized” period, an abandoned and lonely era as the house is emptied and the wildness of nature advances, followed by an uplifted and supported resting place. A thoughtful reflection for adults as well as children.
“Who Will Plant a Tree?” by Jerry Pallotta, Illustrated by Tom Leonard Have fun learning about the different ways that seeds are dispersed or planted by helpful animals all over the planet. Creatures large and small, in oceans, deserts, and forests all pitch in to keep the world in good supply of saplings. The animals are illustrated in rich detail alongside various trees shown in several stages of their development.
“Tap The Magic Tree” by Christie Matheson Very young readers will enjoy this sweet interactive book. As they turn the pages, they’re asked to tap, swish, turn, and blow a kiss. Amazingly, as they do so, they’ll see that the scene changes before their eyes. The simple, easy-going telling of the cycle of the seasons is delightful and encourages a sense of wonder: Perhaps the reader herself is causing the light and cheerful collage and watercolor artwork to change with each page turn?
“Fall is Not Easy” by Marty Kelley This book is just plain silly, which sometimes exactly what we all need. Other seasons are straightforward for the tree: bare branches in winter, new leaves in spring, basking in the summer sun, but fall…that’s a tricky one. Listen to the flowing rhyme and learn how this tree struggles to find its true fall colors. You’ll share a laugh along the way.
“Because of an Acorn” by Lola Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. It starts with the acorn, and what happens next is a step-by-step progression of a food chain. Readers learn how the ecosystem’s birds, seeds, flowers, trees, and people are all connected and interdependent. And it’s all thanks to the acorn! Lovely earth tone pen-and-ink illustrations grab the eye and complement graceful text.