While California celebrates Arbor Day and the planting of trees during the week of March 7 – 14, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. This year the last Friday of the month falls on April 27 and celebrations and tree plantings will be taking place on that day around the country.
In celebration of Arbor Day schools in the San Francisco Bay Area may plant trees on school property, civic groups in Sonoma County might plant trees in parks and individuals in the Sierra Foothills may help restore native plants to community forests.
Whether you and your family take part in a community-wide event or just plant one tree in the backyard, Arbor Day is the perfect opportunity to learn more about trees and their benefits to society and the environment. The San Francisco Children’s Fiction Examiner suggests the following books all about trees to do just that.
Infant and up
“Plant a Tree for Me” by Naomi Kleinberg and Joe Matheau (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2010) Elmo and the whole Sesame Street gang are planting trees and little ones can lift the flaps and watch the tree grow on each page.
“This Tree, 1, 2, 3” by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow (Albert Whitoman & Co, 2011) There are all kinds of animals that make this tree their home. From one owl to ten earthworms, each animal depends on part of the tree for its safety.
Ages 3 and up
“Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?” by Jennifer Blomgren and Andrea Gabriel (Sasquatch Books, 2011) The Pacific Northwest’s mighty evergreen trees are celebrated in this picture book about the ecosystem that occurs among its roots, trunk, branches and limbs.
“Leo’s Tree” by Debora Pearson and Nora Hilb (Annick Press, 2004) Leo and the tree his father planted on the day he was born grow and mature together. As Leo finally sprouts hair, the tree finally sprouts leaves. Then one day Leo’s baby sister is born and it is time to plant another tree.
Ages 4 and up
“Old Elm Speaks” by Kristine O’Connell George and Kate Kiesler (Sandpiper, 2007) What would trees say if they could speak to one another? In this series of poems the many ways trees are part of everyday life is highlighted in conversations between the trees.
“From Acorn to Oak Tree” by Jan Kottke (Children’s Press, 2000) Amazing photos and simple text will help even preschoolers learn about how a small acorn turns into the mighty oak tree.
“Mary Margaret’s Tree” by Blair Drawson (Scholastic, 1996) Mary Margaret works hard to plant her tree just right. As she goes about her task, she imagines herself shrinking and then experiencing a year in the tree’s life amongst its branches.
Ages 5 and up
“My Favorite Tree: Terrific Trees of North America” by Diane Iverson (Dawn Publications, 1999) The importance of 27 trees native to North America is explained and interesting information about each tree is also included in this fact-filled book.
“The Gift of the Tree” by Alvin Tresselt and Henri Sorenson (HarperCollins, 1992) The cycle of the forest is explained through the dying of an old oak tree in this beautifully illustrated picture book.
Ages 6 and up
“The Secret Life of Trees” by Chiara Chevalier (DK Chilred, 1999) The many uses of a tree are explored in this book designed for beginning readers who still need a bit of help. Everything from the animals and plants that depend on trees to how nature helps trees to survive is discussed.
“From Pinecone to Pine Tree” by Ellen Weiss (Children’s Press, 2007) Basic botany terms and colorful photos make this book about the life cycle of the pine tree an interesting and educational book for beginning readers.
Ages 8 and up
“A Tree for All Seasons” by Robin Bernard (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2001) Whatever the season, trees play an important part of humans’ lives. From providing shade in the summer to sap for maple syrup, colorful photographs illustrate the educational text.
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins, 2004) It’s been 40 years since the story of a boy and his lifelong relationship with a tree was first published. An environmental tale on the importance of caring for the world around us, it belongs in every home library.
Ages 9 and up
“Coniferous Forests” by Donna Latham (Nomad Press, 2011) The coniferous forest is endangered from deforestation, fires, overhunting and more. This delicate ecosystem is explained as well as solutions for helping protect the trees that make up a coniferous forest.
“Take a Tree Walk” by Jane Kirkland (Stillwater Publishing, 2005) Everything from identifying different kinds of trees, estimating a tree’s height and what trees need to survive is included in this book for budding arborists.
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