9 Children’s Books About Trees

Occasionally I hit upon a theme that I would enjoy reading about with my kids and discover that authors have not been inspired to write about the theme. (Backyard wildlife in winter comes to mind.) I was concerned that the theme trees would be such a theme. However, when I began compiling this tree-themed booklist, I was pleasantly surprised. I realized that trees play a central role in several of my favorite books, including The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, Planting the Trees of Kenya, and The Great Paper Caper. Do not wait for Arbor Day to read these books!

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. I love Lois Ehlert’s beautiful, cut paper illustrations and description of how the narrator’s maple tree changes from one season to the next. Ages 2+

The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons. A delightful portrait of a boy named Arnold thoroughly enjoying his apple tree throughout the year. Arnold watches bees collect apple blossom nectar, builds a treehouse, makes apple cider, and much, much more. The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree will surely get kids excited about planting their own apple tree. Ages 3+

Fernando’s Gift by Douglas Keister. The story of a real boy name Fernando Vanegas who lives deep in the rainforest of Costa Rica. When Fernando and his friend Carmina discover that their favorite climbing tree has been cut down, Fernando decides to give Carmina a tree for her birthday. The photographs of Fernando’s life in the rainforest captivate my kids. Ages 3+

Winter Trees by Carole Gerber and Leslie Evans. The highlight of this book is Leslie Evan’s beautiful, woodcut illustrations. The rhymes are a bit forced. However, Winter Trees is worth a read if you would like to teach kids to identify trees in winter. I really like Leaf Jumpers by the same authors, which teaches kids to identifying trees by their leaves. Ages 4+

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola. A beautifully written story about an inspiring woman, Wangari Maathai, who led efforts to replant trees across Kenya. Planting the Trees of Kenya describes the harm that deforestation caused and the power of one woman to transform Kenya’s landscape. For more information about Wangari Maathai, see also Seeds of Change by Jen Johnson and Sonia Sadler. Ages 4+

Cherry Tree by Ruskin Bond and Allan Eitzen. A simple, beautifully-written story of a girl who plants a cherry tree and cares for the tree as she grows up. Cherry Tree is set in the Himalayan foothills of northern India where, according to the story, there are not many fruit trees. My children both love this book…perhaps because of the lovely illustrations, perhaps because they enjoy imagining themselves growing older. Ages 4+

The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers. A humorous (hilarious, if you ask my 7-year-old son) story about animals who discover that trees are disappearing from their forest and launch an investigation to determine who is responsible. Ages 5+


Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky. A fantastic first nature guide! In Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees, a funny old man named Crinkleroot introduces kids to deciduous trees and evergreen trees, explains how various animals use trees, shows kids a walking stick woods, and more. My seven-year-old son also likes the take-along nature guides, including Trees, Leaves and Bark: A Take-Along Guide by Diane Burns and Linda Garrow. Ages 5+

The Tree Book: For Kids and Their Grown-ups by Gina Ingoglia. This impressive tree guide describes 33 tree species, most of which are native to North America. For each species, author Gina Ingoglia includes illustrations of the tree and tree parts (leaves, flowers, fruits, etc.) and fascinating historical and scientific facts that will turn those inclined to pour over books like this into tree lovers. In addition, The Tree Book‘s introduction explains photosynthesis, how leaves changes color, tree anatomy and more. Ages 8+

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Pinterest: Trees

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22 Responses to 9 Children’s Books About Trees

  1. Dora says:

    I just happen to be looking for some books about trees . And also things that are made from trees. I am looking forward to seeing some of this books to read and show my SLC students. This children might not seem to be listening but you will be surprised at the things that they can relay to you after a reading lesson. This is my first year teaching children with disabilities and I’m always looking for things for my students to do and see . I am looking for books that have pictures that my students can also see, this brings the concept of what I am discussing real.
    Thank You

  2. Leaf Robinson says:

    Hmmm , I read a book as a child which I would now like to share with my child. It might have been a part of a little britches novel in which the main character wins a tree climbing competition by jumping from the tree to get up and down the fastest. It’s a long shot here, but if anyone know of the story- or has any suggestions on how to find this book containing this story, I’d sure appreciate it…

    • It’s not a picture book is it? Because Koala Lou, by Mem Fox has that exact premise…except she doesn’t win…but gains her distracted mother’s love, which is why she entered the contest.
      P.S. This is a very old post (the tree theme,) and I responded to it a few years ago (!) but as long as I’m here again I must add “Tap the Magic Tree” to best tree books list :) It is a beautiful, engaging book which has worked really well in our Sensory Storytimes as well as other storytimes. Check it out if you haven’t already!

  3. Sarah Miles says:

    One of the most beautiful written and illustrated children’s books I’ve ever read is ‘The Lonely Tree’ by Nicholas Halliday. I bought a copy from Amazon last year and can’t recommend it highly enough. Please do have a look at it here and make sure you check out the reviews on Amazon – A truly stunning book!

  4. Kelly says:

    just searching for more tree book ideas when I happened upon this blog, and must recommend “A Tree Is Nice” by Janice May Udry with illustrations by Marc Simont. Oldy, but very goody! I do programming for young children in my library and this is one of my favorites. Thanks for your picks, too!

  5. Mary says:

    Just found your blog through the Comment Challenge. What a goldmine! You have some great titles here, including some I hadn’t seen in a while (or ever). Love it!

  6. Ticia says:

    Bother, I put my name in the wrong slot. It totally throws me with those two switched. Oh well, thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  7. I’m late in commenting, but I’m pinning this for when we study botany. I LOVE all things Crinkleroot.

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  8. Hi Amy, once again, I enjoyed this post. I tweeted about it since more people should know about this selection of lovely books! I have The Great Paper Caper – but I haven’t read all the other books you mentioned, I shall definitely be on the lookout for them. Which reminds me we should do a nature-theme as well in GatheringBooks soon. :)

  9. I just found your blog and what a gem! Thank you for sharing all of your great finds.

  10. Trees in the Winter sounds just right for us now!

  11. I love Crinkleroot. My son and I have been reading that book so much lately. We are into trees right now, and I will definitely grab these titles from our library! What a fun topic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amy says:

      I love Crinkleroot too! Being able to identify a few birds, trees, butterflies etc. helps me feel a little closer to nature, and I love that Crinkleroot helps kids begin to identify various species without making the process seem dry.

  12. Anya says:

    Thank you for the great list!

  13. Cool books! I also love “The Happiness Tree” by Andrea Alban Gosline -http://www.ambledance.com/happiness-tree.php. I love using books in my work as a Speech-Language Pathologist & in kids yoga classes :)

  14. PragmaticMom says:

    Are you sick of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? It’s a wonderful book, but I get so disgusted by the boy who just takes, takes, and takes. I guess it’s the point of the book, but when I read it with my son, I can’t help but harp on that and I think I go way overboard.

    I like your choices better!

    • Amy says:

      I feel like The Giving Tree is a book that is more likely to be appreciated by and moving to older (>10-year-old) kids. Readers, let me know if you have a young kid or kids who have really enjoyed The Giving Tree. I passed it up for the Earth Day booklist too.

      • orples says:

        I can not believe the “Giving Tree” was not on this list. I’ve had a copy on my bookshelf for about 25 years. It has been enjoyed by not only my children, but now my grandchildren as well.

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