The best books of women’s true stories

Who am I?

As a woman, I am passionate about valuing the voices of women equally with those of men. When we listen to each other, we will be able to come into a better balance that will help us restore ourselves and our Earth. We need the visions of women to help guide us through these challenging times! I’m also passionate about the wild beauty of nature, especially trees, and spend lots of time hiking and meditating in the ancient redwood forests near my home. This has helped me heal and expanded my perception. In a way, being in the forest has brought me home to myself. 

I wrote...

Wild Path to the Sacred Heart

By Ellen Dee Davidson,

Book cover of Wild Path to the Sacred Heart

What is my book about?

When author, Ellen Dee Davidson, finds herself with unusual free time, and a Lama in the Tibetan tradition suggests she “follow the juice,” Ellen realizes that her heart’s desire is to go to the ancient redwood forest near her home and hike and meditate with the old trees nearly every day. Over the course of 9 years of averaging 3 days a week, mostly alone, in the forest, Ellen has all sorts of wild experiences, encountering mountain lions, rutting elk, bears, and having mystical experiences as she slowly discovers the profound healing effects the forest is having upon her. Written in a style of magic realism, the latest science about forest bathing is woven into the mystery of her delightful experiences in the magical realm of a forest. 

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The books I picked & why

The Puma Years: A Memoir

By Laura Coleman,

Book cover of The Puma Years: A Memoir

Why did I love this book?

After running into 5 mountain lions while hiking alone in the ancient redwood forests near my home, I was really blown away reading The Puma Years about Laura Coleman's relationships with the big cats. I cannot imagine getting as close to one of them as she does in her memoir about spending time in the middle of the jungle in Bolivia taking care of wild pumas. Set against a background of logging destruction of habitat and illegal wild animal poaching, the author valiantly tries to rehabilitate damaged pumas. The relationships she and her volunteer colleagues have with the big cats are astonishing. They take them out for walks! The author is so candid about how broken she feels in our environmentally and often socially broken world, and yet in the end still manages to leave me with hope and belief in the human spirit.

By Laura Coleman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Puma Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this rapturous memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her liberating journey in the Amazon jungle, where she fell in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.

Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.

They weren't…

Book cover of To Speak for the Trees: My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest

Why did I love this book?

To Speak for the Trees is one of my favorite books ever, partly because I love trees, and partly because of my own Celtic heritage from my maternal line. Diana Beresord-Kroeger, a scientist in biochemistry and botany, begins with her childhood in Ireland. After losing her parents at a young age, she is raised in the ancient Celtic nature wisdom and Druid beliefs by an entire community, and literally taught the language of trees: Ogham. Blending scientific discoveries about trees and the importance of forests to our species' survival, this book is a fast and delightful read that I won’t forget. I feel enriched from having been blessed to spend time with such a brilliant woman through the pages of her book. 

By Diana Beresford-Kroeger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Speak for the Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Diana Beresford-Kroeger - a world-recognised botanist and medical biochemist - has revolutionised our understanding of the natural world with her startling insights into the hidden life of trees. In this riveting memoir, she uncovers the roots of her discoveries in her extraordinary childhood in Ireland. Soon after, her brilliant mind bloomed into an illustrious scientific career that melds the intricacies of the natural world with the truths of traditional Celtic wisdom. To Speak for the Trees uniquely blends the story of Beresford-Kroeger's incredible life and her outstanding achievement as a scientist. It elegantly shows us how forests can not only…

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Why did I love this book?

Braiding Sweetgrass weaves together indigenous wisdom about our times, the botanist author’s vast knowledge of plants along with her personal life stories. At one point, the author shares that indigenous teachings say we are at a time of choice, where there are two paths, one to death and destruction and another grassy and green. Although we are in such fraught times, Robin offers ways to restore our world that left me feeling hopeful. I also appreciated her struggles as an indigenous woman becoming a scientist, dealing with both sexism and two very different world views. Somehow, in this book, Robin manages to braid these different strands of reality together in a way that is profoundly nourishing. I recommend this as one of the best environmental books ever.  

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…

Book cover of Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

Why did I love this book?

This book expanded my understanding of the intelligence of nature, especially trees. Suzanne is a scientist and forester who pioneered research into the underground fungal network of communication between trees in a forest. Through a system of chemical messages, Suzanne discovered that trees are able to request and offer nutrients to each other as needed! After reading Finding the Mother Tree, I will never look at trees or nature the same way. Now I know that trees are intelligent and conscious beings with the ability to cooperate for survival. Along with her astounding scientific discoveries, the book is spiced with details from the author’s personal life: her struggles to be taken seriously as a woman in forestry, the loss of her brother, raising daughters, divorce, and breast cancer. 

By Suzanne Simard,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Finding the Mother Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • From the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest—a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery

“Finding the Mother Tree reminds us that the world is a web of stories, connecting us to one another. [The book] carries the stories of trees, fungi, soil and bears--and of a human being listening in on the conversation. The interplay of personal narrative, scientific insights and the amazing revelations about the life of the forest make a compelling story.”—Robin Wall…

Book cover of If Women Rose Rooted: A Life-Changing Journey to Authenticity and Belonging

Why did I love this book?

An unforgettable book about the power of women restoring themselves and each other and how that will also help us restore the Earth. Full of mythology, If Women Rose Rooted is about women seeking our roots and rootedness. While seeking a place to live, the author is also searching for the true place within herself. Blending memoir, the land, and folk stories, this book can help women everywhere come home to themselves. 

By Sharon Blackie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If Women Rose Rooted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If Women Rose Rooted has been described as both transformative and essential. Sharon Blackie leads the reader on a quest to find their place in the world, drawing inspiration from the wise and powerful women in native mythology, and guidance from contemporary role models who have re-rooted themselves in land and community and taken responsibility for shaping the future. Beautifully written, honest and moving, If Women Rose Rooted is a passionate song to a different kind of femininity, a rallying, feminist cry for the rewilding of womanhood; reclaiming our role as guardians of the land.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in indigenous peoples, trees, and Canada?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about indigenous peoples, trees, and Canada.

Indigenous Peoples Explore 27 books about indigenous peoples
Trees Explore 48 books about trees
Canada Explore 291 books about Canada

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Hidden Figures, Drawdown, and Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt if you like this list.