The Man Who Planted Trees

By Jean Giono, Michael McCurdy (illustrator),

Book cover of The Man Who Planted Trees

Book description

Twenty years ago Chelsea Green published the first trade edition of The Man Who Planted Trees, a timeless eco-fable about what one person can do to restore the earth. The hero of the story, Elzeard Bouffier, spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day in a desolate, barren section…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Man Who Planted Trees as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The American novelist Henry Miller who loved France described Giono as "one of if not the greatest writer of the twentieth century." This novel is set in deep Provence and tells the tale of a lone shepherd who dedicates his life to reforesting a desolate valley area at the foothills of the Alps. Over forty years he plants his saplings, right up until his death, by which time the valley has been transformed into a paradise for men, creatures, and plants. The writing is sublime, poetic, and inspirational. This story is as relevant today as it was when written seventy…

Sustainable designers need hope and a sense of the long game to believe in their power to address the climate and ecological crises. This short book offers a message of hope through the story of a shepherd's quest to reforest his locality, showing how a place can be transformed through time and planning. The animated film version would appeal to children and adults. I always recommend this book to students and staff who take part in the tree-planting events I organise for London Metropolitan University.

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