Originally published in: 2017
What it’s about: The neighborhood oak and all the stories she has witnessed and watched over in her 200 plus years.
What made me pick it up: I’d seen it recommended on Twitter.
My favorite parts: I love that it’s from the point of view of a tree. This is such a sweet story of friendship and community and how things so simple, like friendship and acceptance, are so difficult for humans to attain sometimes. It also has a wonderful theme of environmental conservation and protection. Not only is the tree character great, but there is a whole menagerie of wild animals to meet as well including one very precocious crow. I also enjoyed that this book is fairly short and quick, being middle grade. An excellent reminder to all ages to build bridges and foster appreciation.
Who it’s great for: Middle grade readers on up, especially fans of The Giving Tree.
Originally published in: 2017
What it’s about: How spending as little as 30 minutes a week in nature can help us be happier.
What made me pick it up: I’m a nature girl. I grew up running through orchards and living outside in our yard. My favorite pastimes reinforce what this book tells me is true — nature helps. More of it is better.
My favorite things: I love that she includes the research. I love that there is research that says we need more, not less, exposure to nature and that it can lead to all sorts of health benefits like less depression and ADHD. It might even be equal to or better than meditation! I enjoyed that she tells it as her personal journey to find out what works and why and how to incorporate more of it into her life. It makes me want to add “go for a walk in the trees” to my to do list and “end up somewhere wild” to my travel plans.
Who it’s great for: Nature enthusiasts of all stripes. Tree lovers. Walkers. People who feel a bit off and are looking for a solution.
Find a copy in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).
Originally published in: 2014
What it’s about: A little girl named Maple and the namesake tree that is her best friend.
What made me pick it up: I’m a lifelong maple tree and maple syrup fan so when I saw the name of this book I checked it out.
My favorite things: I love the depiction of Maple’s relationship with the tree. How it listens to her and doesn’t mind if she’s too energetic or loud. I really liked how she lays under the tree and watches the leaves rustle. It reminded me of many afternoons spent doing just that when I was little and made me want to go outside and do it again. But most of all I enjoyed the tiny surprise at the end.
Who it’s great for: Tree lovers. Rambunctious little ones and parents of them.
Get this book in your local library or on Amazon (affiliate link).
Originally published in: 2016
What it’s about: Jahren’s journey to be a scientist who has her own lab, which is also her journey to become herself.
What made me pick it up: It had a lot of holds. I’d heard about it a little. It was about trees or plants or something I was interested in reading about at the time. Little reasons.
My favorite things: Like her blog says, Hope Jahren sure can write. This is beautiful. Jahren writes so well about things that are so hard and complicated. I was floored with how realistically she was able to portray her mental illness, especially her episodes. It brought tears to my eyes. I also appreciated the story of the enduring friendship she built with her longtime assistant Bill. That story of how friends become family always warms my heart. Mostly, I liked how forthright she is. How she makes you want to keep going even though it’s tough because of how frequently she did the same. It will inspire you.
Who it’s great for: Teens. Adults. Anyone who is pursuing something but isn’t sure it will work out. Those who struggle with mental illness. Lovers of trees. You, if you want to read a great story of finding your place and your people.
Find a copy of Lab Girl at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.