Picture Books for Arbor Day

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have no shortage of beautiful trees and Arbor Day reminds us of how important it is to preserve them. National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area. This year Washington State's Arbor Day falls on April 10. Visit Arbor Day Foundation's Washington State site to learn more about how you can take part in Arbor Day this year. 

Enjoy these resources as a way to help children appreciate how trees make the world a better place and discover ways you can celebrate Arbor Day.

The Mangrove Tree

Alternating verse, told as a cumulative tale, and factual prose tell this story of Dr. Soto's mangrove tree-planting project that transformed an impoverished village in Eritrea, Africa, into a self-sufficient community. The collage illustrations are gorgeous and the afterword includes a series of wonderful photos.  A perfect book for Arbor Day!

The Great Kapok Tree 

Lynn Cherry's beautifully illustrated tale of a man who falls asleep in the Amazon rainforest before chopping down the great Kapok tree continues to make my favorites list. Children will love the series of creatures that come out of the forest to whisper in the sleeping man's ear and beg him not to destroy their home.

The Peace Tree From Hiroshima

Told in the little bonsai's voice, this story traces the life of the Japanese White Pine known as Miyajima, later known as the "Peace Tree": its birth on the island of Miyajima; its training by generations of the Yamaki family; its survival of Hiroshima and eventual travel to America to become a tree of peace.  Based on a true story and beautifully illustrated with facts about Bonsai included.

Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them

Children of all ages will be fascinated by this book of trees telling their stories ranging from chocolate and sausage trees to ghost and dynamite trees.  Full of fun facts and great illustrations, including a world map of where each tree is found.

The Tree Lady

This is the true story of how Katherine Olivia Sessions transformed a desert wasteland into the lush oasis that is now Balboa Park. The first woman ever graduated from the University of California with a degree in science, Kate's vision and determination turned San Diego into a city known for its magnificent gardens.

Wangari's Trees of Peace

This easy biography about Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner for starting the Green Belt Movement, is a longtime favorite of mine. After studying abroad in America, Wangari returned to her once beautiful homeland of Kenya to find it devastated and barren. Rather than despair, she started planting trees and encouraged other women to follow her example resulting in over 30 million trees being planted!  

Also in eBook format.