94 books like The Songs of Trees

By David George Haskell,

Here are 94 books that The Songs of Trees fans have personally recommended if you like The Songs of Trees. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Overstory

Culley Holderfield Author Of Hemlock Hollow

From my list on books in which nature is a teacher.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up fascinated by the natural world, in particular by the hemlock trees in a hollow in the North Carolina mountains where my family owned a cabin. Later, the hollow and that cabin would provide inspiration for my novel, Hemlock Hollow, in which a scientist wrestles with the ghosts of her past. Those hemlocks are in decline now due to the hemlock wooly adelgid, an invasive species working its way through the Appalachian Mountains. In many ways, my writing takes the grief of losing something so dear as grist for stories that center the power of place over time, and I’m drawn to other books that do the same.

Culley's book list on books in which nature is a teacher

Culley Holderfield Why did Culley love this book?

What’s not to love about a book structured as a tree? This is a vast, episodic novel that takes traditional storytelling and turns it on its head.

A cast of characters connect through stories that grow from seed to trunk to limb. I finished this long read and immediately wanted to start again. It’s the kind of book that rewards a second or third pass. Complex, rife with science and faith and desperate longing, this book is a celebration of the tree, a clarion call to return our attention to our roots before it is too late.

One of Powers’ characters asks, “What do all good stories do?” He answers, “They kill you a little. They turn you into something you weren’t.” I think that’s true of all of these books, and most definitely this one.

By Richard Powers,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Overstory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of-and paean to-the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers's twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours-vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see…

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

Carl F. Nathan Author Of An Arrow's ARC: Journey of a Physician-Scientist

From my list on a life in science or medicine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I experienced “otherness.” My family was hard up amidst affluence. Typecast as Jewish, where that was a rarity, we were met with suspicion and unease. Being a woman held my mother back from her preferred profession. Racism was rampant; my growing appreciation of it and efforts to intervene added to “otherness.”  My childhood was shadowed by illness, including my mother’s cancer. These influences drew me to medicine and science. Both are a way to overcome “otherness” and to protect one’s family, even as my sense of family expanded. Medicine forges extraordinary bonds between doctor and patient. Science brings people together from diverse backgrounds to share goals. These connections make meaningful stories. 

Carl's book list on a life in science or medicine

Carl F. Nathan Why did Carl love this book?

I love how Simard weaves her life story together with the story of what she discovered.

I empathize with her standing up to rejection, even ridicule, to overcome being an “outsider,” both for her discoveries and for being a woman in science. I admire that she is equally attuned to the details of how trees and the fungi beneath them collaborate and communicate as she is to the industrial, societal, and climatological implications.

Through it all, she expresses the message that life is sustained and shaped by a web of interactions within species and among them.

By Suzanne Simard,

Why should I read it?

13 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 The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature

Jessica J. Lee Author Of Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging

From my list on change how you think about plants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved plants since I was a child – that’s probably why I grew up to become an environmental historian and nature writer! But I longed for stories about plants and nature that didn’t paint them as passive and ours to dominate. And stories that represented the voices of those on the margins of nature writing. I have written three books of nature writing, as well as a nature-themed picture books, and many more shorter essays on the natural world along the way.   

Jessica's book list on change how you think about plants

Jessica J. Lee Why did Jessica love this book?

I was enthralled with this book from its very premise: a book about looking closely…really closely. Haskell tracks the growth of a square meter of forest over a year, bringing to life the minutiae of life.

It’s a book that made me want to get down on the ground and get to know the unseen details of every patch of land I encountered. 

By David George Haskell,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Forest Unseen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of old-growth forest--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award 

Look out for David Haskell's new book, The Songs of Tree: Stories From Nature's Great Connectors, coming in April of 2017

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of…

Book cover of Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology

Ellen E. Wohl Author Of Dead Wood: The Afterlife of Trees

From my list on trees, living and dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

I study streams and rivers and it took me a while to recognize that many of the streams that flow through forests should have far more downed wood pieces and logjams than are commonly present. The lack of wood in streams reflects a long history of deforestation along rivers, as well as actively pulling wood out of rivers for navigation and flood control. As I’ve come to appreciate dead wood and the many benefits it creates for a wide range of inland, coastal, and marine ecosystems, I’ve also become increasingly interested in the lives that trees live before they become dead wood.

Ellen's book list on trees, living and dead

Ellen E. Wohl Why did Ellen love this book?

I have been fortunate enough to go on canopy walkways through tropical forests and the diversity of colors, shapes, scents, and sounds are fascinating. Lowman describes how the first scientists to venture into the unexplored world of the forest canopy actually got up there and what they found. Lowman tells the story of her own life in the canopy, providing a window into how scientists work, and explaining how she has balanced a research career featuring international travel and motherhood.

By Margaret D. Lowman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life in the Treetops as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forest canopies have been characterized as one of the last biotic frontiers on Earth: tree crowns have been difficult to study scientifically because access to them has been so challenging. During the past two decades, however, methods for canopy access have greatly improved. In this book a pioneer canopy scientist describes the mysteries of the treetops-their inhabitants, flowers and fruits, growth and mortality, patterns of diversity, and plant and animal interactions. Margaret Lowman writes about different canopy access techniques in conjunction with the scientific hypotheses she was addressing while using each one. She also portrays the life of a field…

Book cover of Wildwood

Edward Picton-Turbervill Author Of Talking Through Trees

From my list on to rewild the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I did a master's in Environmental Policy, and at the end of that year, I thought, "this is all very well, but there’s no point designing these policies if no one wants them." My response to the environmental crisis is to try to open people’s eyes to the beauty and wonder of Nature. If you pay close attention, you start to develop an expansive sense of the ordinary: Creation is stranger, more mysterious, and more wonderful than we can imagine. This in turn helps us to love the world more deeply, and we tend to look after things that we love. 

Edward's book list on to rewild the mind

Edward Picton-Turbervill Why did Edward love this book?

This was the book that made me look again at trees, seeing them for the incredible organisms that they are. Deakin goes on an amazing adventure from Suffolk to Kazakhstan, Australia, and beyond, trying to get to the heart of why wood and trees have such profound meaning for us. If you like Wildwood, you could also try Waterlog, in which he wild-swims his way through the British Isles. He’s the perfect companion for the armchair adventurer, and a very genial writer.

By Roger Deakin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wildwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the "fifth element" -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with trees.

Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes "coppicing" in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bushplums with Aboriginal women in…

Book cover of The Hidden Life of Trees

Tina Muir Author Of Becoming a Sustainable Runner: A Guide to Running for Life, Community, and Planet

From my list on helping you process emotions around climate.

Why am I passionate about this?

FernGully was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it made me really think about the natural world and how humans interact with it. Now, aged 35 with kids of my own (who also love FernGully), I consider myself a climate activist for the work I do in helping everyday people to believe they can be a part of the solution to climate change. As an author, podcast host, and community builder, I've connected with other humans with fascinating passions, perspectives, and values. I want to show my audience that we can all view the world differently, but there is one important thing we need to all believe, that we matter.

Tina's book list on helping you process emotions around climate

Tina Muir Why did Tina love this book?

As humans, we sometimes find ourselves thinking that we are at the top of the intelligence chain, that we have it all figured out and everything else in the world is lesser.

The Hidden Life of Trees made me totally rethink that, and not simply for trees, but the interconnectedness of our world and how everything works together perfectly in harmony…until humans came along and began to hack the system, of course.

This book gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for trees and made me think about how much we could be learning from our distant relatives, rather than thinking everything else needs to learn from us. 

By Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst (translator),

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Hidden Life of Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A paradigm-smashing chronicle of joyous entanglement that will make you acknowledge your own entanglement in the ancient and ever-new web of being."--Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben…

Book cover of Into the Forest: The Secret Language of Trees

Anthony D. Fredericks Author Of In Search of the Old Ones: An Odyssey among Ancient Trees

From my list on trees and forests.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, my father and I would take two weeks every summer to camp in the High Sierra Mountains of California. In between fishing excursions and rafting trips, I would take time to hike among tall pines or resplendent forests. I was always amazed at what I would discover. In later years, I would often find myself in the company of forests on business ventures or family vacations. Now in my eighth decade, I still embrace the magnificence of tall timbers. I have lived among them, danced beneath their branches, and reposed in their shade. They are an integral part of my life; they are both inspiration and friends.

Anthony's book list on trees and forests

Anthony D. Fredericks Why did Anthony love this book?

I discovered this book by accident…and what a great accident it was!

This book is a complete and thorough examination of all the elements of forest life. Chapters include Tree, Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Forest. Throughout, it is brimming with information, full of insights, and loaded with perspectives found in no other book.

It is a most masterful examination of every element of forest life - told with intensity and passion.

As a National Geographic publication, you know it is both scientifically accurate and packed with dynamic photographs. This is a book that was crafted with love and intent.

Like me, you will find yourself turning to this book again and again. It is a most necessary addition to any personal library.

By Susan Tyler Hitchcock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For millennia, trees have offered renewal and inspiration.

They have provided for humanity on every level, from spiritual sanctuary to the raw material for our homes, books, and food. In this beautiful and revealing book, National Geographic combines legendary photography with cutting-edge science to illuminate exactly how trees influence the life of planet Earth-from our personal lives to the weather cycle. Beautifully illustrated essays tell the stories of the world's most remarkable trees, from Tane Mahura in New Zealand, the ancient Maori "lord of the forest," to Pando, a single aspen spreading over 100 acres: Earth's largest living thing. You'll…

Book cover of Can You Hear the Trees Talking? Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest

C.C. Harrington Author Of Wildoak

From my list on inspiring young readers to engage with the natural world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with reading as a child and have carried that sense of magic and possibility with me ever since. As an adult and a writer, I believe passionately in the power of story to foster empathy, understanding, and greater human connection – and I still turn to children’s literature whenever I need reminding of all that we are capable of becoming and doing as human beings. This list has a strong environmental bent to it – partly because Wildoak is a book about caring for the natural world, and partly because I believe that stories shape our sense of purpose. 

C.C.'s book list on inspiring young readers to engage with the natural world

C.C. Harrington Why did C.C. love this book?

This is a young readers’ version of Peter Wollebhen’s book The Hidden Life of Trees and it’s packed full of pictures and short blocks of text that are quick and easy to read. It’s non-fiction and yes… there is still much about trees and how they interrelate with one another that we don’t yet fully understand and not everyone agrees on the science, but fostering curiosity to learn more is just what we need to do. Also, The Hidden Life of Trees was a source of deep inspiration for me when writing my book and I absolutely loved it. This is a great one for adults or teachers to share with younger readers too and inspire conversation as well as shared activities.

By Peter Wohlleben,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Can You Hear the Trees Talking? Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?



This interactive book for kids aged 8-10 introduces the wonderful science of the forest through outdoor activities, quizzes, fun facts, photographs, and more!

Discover the secret life of trees with this nature and science book for kids: Can You Hear the Trees Talking? shares the mysteries and magic of the forest with young readers, revealing what trees feel, how they communicate, and the ways trees take care of their families. The author of The Hidden Life of Trees,…

Book cover of Greenwood

Eva Silverfine Author Of How to Bury Your Dog

From my list on our connections with the natural environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although I grew up in New York City, from a young age I was drawn to the natural world, particularly through gardening and camping trips. Eventually I studied biology in college and earned a Master’s researching stream ecology. I also always imagined myself a writer. For years my writing was solely in letters and journals, but during my Master’s I started a novel featuring an immature mayfly in the stream (it was somewhat autobiographical). Ecology is all about the connection of organisms to their environment and to one another, and I think this perspective of connectedness has embedded itself deeply in my writing and my life.

Eva's book list on our connections with the natural environment

Eva Silverfine Why did Eva love this book?

I particularly love books that combine the trifecta of engaging story; interesting, complex characters; and good writing with real substance (as in, I stop to think about the content). Greenwood has all of these.

The writing is particularly lyrical—I could fill this space with beautiful quotes. The author takes the reader through four generations of a family, with each generation intimately connected to trees in different ways—from lumbermen to environmental activist to woodcraftsman to botanist.

And as the author “takes a core” through a family tree, the story captures both the characters’ relationships to one another as well as to the world in which they live. I cannot recommend this book enough!

By Michael Christie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Greenwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The truth is that all family lines, from the highest to the lowest, originate somewhere, on some particular day. Even the grandest trees must've once been seeds spun helpless on the wind, and then just meek saplings nosing up from the soil.'

2038. On a remote island off the Pacific coast of British Columbia stands the Greenwood Arboreal Cathedral, one of the world's last forests. Wealthy tourists flock from all corners of the dust-choked globe to see the spectacle and remember what once was. But even as they breathe in the fresh air and pose for photographs amidst the greenery,…

Book cover of Wishtree

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

Red, a monoecious oak tree, narrates this luminous and beautifully illustrated novel. Red is two hundred and sixteen rings old and happily provides shelter for seven opossums, four raccoons, five owls, six skunks, and a witty crow named Bongo. Together, Red and the animals concoct a plan to support Samar, a girl whose family has just moved into the neighborhood. Samar hasn’t made any friends yet, and she’s feeling sad and lonely. Wishtree is about inclusion and community, but at its heart, it’s a love song to the trees and creatures that call urban areas home. Have tissues ready: Samar’s comforting middle-of-the-night visits to Red and Bongo will have readers wiping away a tear or two. 

By Katherine Applegate,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wishtree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Top 20 Children's Books of 2017

The New York Times-bestselling story of kindness, friendship, and hope.

Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .
Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"―people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood.
You might say Red has seen it all.
Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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