10 books like Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree

By David George Haskell,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Garden Jungle

By Dave Goulson,

Book cover of The Garden Jungle

I fell in love from the first line of the Prologue: “This book is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement and the soil beneath our feet.” Why do we miss the beauty that is right in front of us, not to mention the opportunity to heal? Nature & Shakespeare share being taken for granted because they are always there for us. Yet they are the two things that took center stage during the darkest days of the pandemic, and for the same reason. They are here to heal and anchor us in our shared humanity. We do worry about losing Shakespeare’s plants though, a number of them are now on the endangered species list. But something like plantain (not a banana) really does grow in the cracks of cement, and has amazing healing properties, as Shakespeare…

The Garden Jungle

By Dave Goulson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

**SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER**

'Exquisite...should be read by every gardener in the country' Observer

The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet. Dave Goulson gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of these creatures, taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the…


The Lost Words

By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lost Words

This book is by one of my favourite nature writers of all time, Robert Macfarlane. It’s a picture book that is for humans of all ages, truly. His poetry makes for a beautiful read aloud, the illustrations by Jackie Morris are stunning and the size of it makes for an immersive experience. I absolutely loved reading it with my kids when they were a little younger and we all piled into my bed. I also believe that it works… the poems are ‘spells’ designed to bring certain words back into use since they were cut from the Junior Oxford English Dictionary. Words like acornkingfisher, and otter…. Please read and share this book!

The Lost Words

By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Penguin presents the CD edition of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, read by Edith Bowman, Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews and Benjamin Zephaniah.

All over the country, there are words disappearing from children's lives. Words like Dandelion, Otter, Bramble, Acorn and Lark represent the natural world of childhood, a rich landscape of discovery and imagination that is fading from children's minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of the poetry of nature words and the living glory of our distinctive, British countryside. With acrostic spell-poems by peerless wordsmith Robert Macfarlane this…


Queen Elizabeth in the Garden

By Trea Martyn,

Book cover of Queen Elizabeth in the Garden: A Story of Love, Rivalry, and Spectacular Gardens

A sizzling tale of competition, grandeur, and royal romance—and it’s true! Shakespeare loved writing about court intrigue and this story of Queen Elizabeth and the courtiers & ministers who created spectacular gardens for her has loads of it. People always focus on what was going on behind palace walls & inside castle corridors, but it turns out the real drama is down in the garden. Imagine gilding rosemary bushes so they glitter in the sun. I certainly think the theatricality of the landscape inspired Shakespeare’s work. In addition to being intricate and fascinating, this book impelled me to further investigate Queen Elizabeth’s effect on the green space of the country and seeding the prospect of garden competition. For me, it uncovered an amazing origin story of green desire and the intricate facets of female leadership.

Queen Elizabeth in the Garden

By Trea Martyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taking a fresh and original approach to the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this book tells the incredible story of her great passion for gardens, and how the two most powerful men in England during her reign fought a decade-long duel for their queen's affections by creating lavish gardens for her. It chronicles how, in their quest to woo the queen and outdo each other, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and William Cecil, Baron of Burghley, competed for Elizabeth’s favor by laying out innovative and extravagant pleasure grounds at their palaces for when she came to visit. As…


How to Think Like Shakespeare

By Scott Newstok,

Book cover of How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons from a Renaissance Education

I can’t seem to recommend one book without recommending two but a teacher once told me, Shakespeare never said one thing when he could say two, and never two things when he could say three. I admit I’m a Shakespeare ‘pusher’ because I believe the works instill wisdom, humanity, and critical thinking skills—attributes that are disappearing as much as some of the natural world mentioned above. Having these tools are essential to saving ourselves and the world around us. We seem to forget how to be human in the same way exercise instructors tell us: Don’t forget to breathe. Newstok serves up a rich menu to digest the delicious process of thinking, so that ‘smarting up’ is as easy as breathing. But I also loved How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, by Ken Ludwig for similar reasons (and it works well for adults too!).

How to Think Like Shakespeare

By Scott Newstok,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Think Like Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively and engaging guide to vital habits of mind that can help you think more deeply, write more effectively, and learn more joyfully

How to Think like Shakespeare is a brilliantly fun exploration of the craft of thought-one that demonstrates what we've lost in education today, and how we might begin to recover it. In fourteen brief chapters that draw from Shakespeare's world and works, and from other writers past and present, Scott Newstok distills enduring practices that can make learning more creative and pleasurable.

Challenging a host of today's questionable notions about education, Newstok shows how mental play…


If I Were a Tree

By Andrea Zimmerman, Jing Jing Tsong (illustrator),

Book cover of If I Were a Tree

Behind weeds, trees are perhaps the most common plant many kids will encounter in their day to day lives, and another way children can access nature near home and school. And while trees are complex living things at the apex of the plant kingdom, they often are unnoticed and underappreciated. This beautiful lyrical picture book gives children a context to explore what a tree can do through kid-sized comparisons to what children can also do. Use it to help children explore one of the most common features of both urban and rural landscapes: trees.

If I Were a Tree

By Andrea Zimmerman, Jing Jing Tsong (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If I Were a Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two siblings imagine life as a tree, and envision what they would hear, feel, and see.

If I were a tree, I know how I'd be.
My trunk strong and wide, my limbs side to side,
I'd stand towering tall, high above all,
My leaves growing big, and buds on each twig.
If I were a tree, that's how I'd be.

The sister has camped in the forest many times before. The brother is nervous for his first overnight trip. As the illustrations in this multifaceted picture book show the siblings discovering the woods, the text celebrates the strength and…


Treemendous

By Bridget Heos, Mike Ciccotello (illustrator),

Book cover of Treemendous: Diary of a Not Yet Mighty Oak

How can something as small as an acorn grow to the height of a skyscraper? Treemendous: Diary of a Not Yet Mighty Oak illustrates the life of a tiny acorn growing up to be a tall oak tree. It uses delightful and humorous text and adorable illustrations to communicate the basic science behind this phenomenal happening in nature. What a wonderful way to learn about our nation’s tree.

Treemendous

By Bridget Heos, Mike Ciccotello (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This adorable picture book illustrates the life of a tiny acorn growing up to be a tall oak tree. A wonderful introduction to nonfiction for curious, nature-loving kids!

Hello, world! This little acorn is so excited to grow!

Told in the diary entries of an acorn, this picture book follows a young acorn and its long life as an oak tree, from being buried by a squirrel to towering over other trees. The text communicates the basic science simply and with humor, and the illustrations up the fun factor! Parents will love the sweet story and charming illustrations, and teachers…


Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation

By Susan Elizabeth Hale,

Book cover of Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation

Soon to be a musical, this enchanting story is about an eleven-year-old girl who doesn’t know she can sing until she gets to know an oak tree in her garden, Annie Oakly, who becomes her best friend and is actually a tree spirit. As the story unfolds, and Emma is confronted with family troubles, she learns of her own vital role in saving the trees; Emma must sing! 

I’m recommending this book because of my own love for both trees and music. In fact, I often sing to the redwoods where I live and sometimes imagine they are singing along with their rustling squeaks and creaks. The author tells a story grounded in everyday problems, such as living with a grandmother with dementia, while bringing the fantastical and magical world of nature vividly alive.

Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation

By Susan Elizabeth Hale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eleven-year-old Emma doesn't know that she comes from generations of tree singers, passed from mother to daughter. She doesn't believe she can sing. Her ailing grandmother has just come to live with the family. Her father is hardly ever at home. Her mother has been acting strange. To add to Emma's troubles, her mother's great uncle from England is coming to stay. Then, a strange old woman wearing a hat full of feathers appears mysteriously in her garden. She gives Emma a white swan feather that emits a haunting melody. Emma's only solace is the oak tree in her garden,…


Wildwood

By Roger Deakin,

Book cover of Wildwood

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.

Wildwood

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…


Just Under the Clouds

By Melissa Sarno,

Book cover of Just Under the Clouds

Just Under the Clouds is a beautifully written story about tough yet gentle Cora, who fiercely protects her younger sister as the family struggles with homelessness. This story shows how bravery comes in many forms, including as a quiet, loving strength. This book stayed with me well after I finished it. The author managed to capture a serious issue in a magical, compelling story. The tree imagery is wonderful.

Just Under the Clouds

By Melissa Sarno,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Can you still have a home if you don't have a house? In the spirit of The Truth About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree comes a stunning debut about a family struggling to find a place to belong.

To climb a tree, always think in threes and you'll never fall. "Two feet, one hand. Two hands, one foot," Cora's father told her when she was a little girl. Now Cora is in middle school, her father is gone, her family is homeless, and Cora has to look after her younger sister, Adare, who needs a lot of looking after.…


Tree Beings

By Raymond Huber, Sandra Severgnini (illustrator),

Book cover of Tree Beings

I first became aware of this beautiful book when I shared a stage with the illustrator at a literary event. I was captivated by her cover illustration which is like a ‘Where’s Wally’ tree containing 70 hidden animals. Once I got my copy home (and after I found most of the animals) I flipped to explanations of the superpowers of trees. These are guaranteed to shift your youngsters’ perspectives. Nonfiction stories invite them to imagine themselves in the field with well-known conservationists and activists who have dedicated themselves to saving trees and their inhabitants. I love that so many of these heroes are women which, hopefully, will encourage more girls to embrace science.

Tree Beings

By Raymond Huber, Sandra Severgnini (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner: The Wilderness Society's Environment Award for Children's Literature

We depend on trees for our survival, yet few of us understand just how fascinating these beings really are. With a foreword by the world-renowned anthropologist Jane Goodall, Tree Beings is an adventure through the secret world of trees. Challenging the perception that trees are just 'silent statues', it focuses on four big ideas:

Trees give life to the planet. Trees can help save us from climate change. Trees are like beings. Trees need our help and protection.

Along the way, you'll meet some of the scientists and explorers who helped…


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