The most recommended books about trees

Who picked these books? Meet our 77 experts.

77 authors created a book list connected to trees, and here are their favorite tree books.
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What type of tree book?


Book cover of Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation

Ellen Dee Davidson Author Of Wind

From my list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy.

Who am I?

I grew up playing in nature: body surfing the waves in Southern California, backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, swimming in rivers. For the past thirty years, I’ve lived in the redwoods of Northern California. Spending so much time in the peace and beauty of nature has filled me with joy and deep respect for the incredibly interconnectedness of living ecosystems. I’ve also had a lifelong passion for reading, especially fairy tales, fables and fantasies. Combining nature and fantasy in my writing allows me to explore ideas and inspirations about how we can live in harmony on our one beautiful planet.

Ellen's book list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy

Ellen Dee Davidson Why did Ellen love this book?

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.

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,…

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.

Who am I?

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 Greenwood

Eva Silverfine Author Of How to Bury Your Dog

From my list on our connections with the natural environment.

Who am I?

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 Summer

Leslie Wheeler Author Of Rattlesnake Hill

From my list on where the sense of place becomes a character.

Who am I?

I’m a mystery author from sunny California who moved to New England to be close to my dark roots. Places spark my imagination. As a child, I’d look at a house and wonder, “What would it be like to live there, in that town and that landscape?” On family road trips, my parents fueled my desire for knowledge about different places by reading from the WPA guides to the states. The books I enjoy the most have a strong sense of place. I want my readers to experience my settings as fully as I do. Setting is where a book begins. Characters and story spring from this fertile ground.

Leslie's book list on where the sense of place becomes a character

Leslie Wheeler Why did Leslie love this book?

I discovered Summer when I first moved to the Berkshires, and it quickly became my favorite of all Wharton’s novels. From the opening scene in which a playful June breeze whisks the hat off a young man, catching the attention of a local girl, I was captivated by this story of young love played out against a month of languid, sunny days filled with flowers, green grass, and leafy trees. But as summer edges into fall, the love story falters, giving way to a chilling encounter on The Mountain that has shadowed Wharton’s sensuously described landscape all along. 

By Edith Wharton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bored with her life in a small town, eighteen-year-old Charity Royall enters into a relationship with an older man, only to find herself pregnant and abandoned when he reunites with his fiancée and leaves town.

One of two Edith Wharton novels set in New England, Summer examines the sexual awakening of Charity, her evolving relationship with her guardian, and the choices that will define her adulthood.

HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics…

Book cover of Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning: What, When, Where & How to Prune for a More Beautiful Garden

Daryl Beyers Author Of The New Gardener's Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Grow a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden

From my list on for new gardeners.

Who am I?

As a gardening instructor and designer, I've been recommending these five books for years. They were the core texts of the Fundamentals of Gardening course I've been teaching at the New York Botanical Garden for over a decade. Since the publication of The New Gardener’s Handbook, which covers all these topics in a more abbreviated way, I still recommend these five books to my students if they want to dig deeper. These books are what I call “keeper texts.” I own fewer and fewer actual gardening books these days, but it's a fact that a copy of each of these excellent resources resides on my office bookshelf where I refer to them frequently. 

Daryl's book list on for new gardeners

Daryl Beyers Why did Daryl love this book?

This book perfectly demystifies the art of pruning trees and shrubs for even the most apprehensive gardener. Turnbull’s conversational style and matter-of-fact presentation of all you need to know to do it right and not wreck your plants, has been a fan favorite for years. I recommend it to my gardening students that may find the Brown/Kirkham pruning book a bit on the dry side. Cass makes pruning sound fun, and important, blending her horticultural knowledge and skill with a keen political sensibility that stresses the ethics of doing things the right way for the health and well-being of your plants.  

By Cass Turnbull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This 3rd Edition of Cass Turnbull's Guide to Pruning covers more than twenty additional plants in three new chapters. The result is the new definitive guide for the home gardener with friendly, expert advice from Cass Turnbull, founder of Seattle's PlantAmnesty, whose mission is "to end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs caused by mal-pruning." Nothing about pruning is obvious. In fact, most of it is downright counterintuitive. People try to prune plants like they cut lumber or hair. But that doesn't work to get what they want. Your plants are actually telling you how they want…

Book cover of The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century

Paul Kidby Author Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium

From my list on beautiful draughtmanship.

Who am I?

I'm a self-taught artist and sometimes a sculptor. I'm best known for illustrating the Discworld novels of Sir Terry Pratchett which I have been working on for almost 30 years. Not having had formal training, looking at the work of other artists was an important part of my learning. I have a large collection of art books and have been inspired by all sorts of creatives ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci to Jamie Hewlett. I'm often drawn to draughts-people who have a scientific approach to their work and limited use of colour. If I can’t escape to a gallery for inspiration I can always turn to the pages of a book.

Paul's book list on beautiful draughtmanship

Paul Kidby Why did Paul love this book?

This book contains exquisite pencil and ink drawings by Dr. Sarah Simblet who teaches at The Ruskin and Christ Church, at Oxford University. Her observational work is second to none and through it, she explores the relationship between science, history, and art. She is dedicated to sharing visual intelligence and promoting understanding through art.  This is complemented perfectly with the text by Gabriel Hemery who gives an in-depth insight into the value of one of our most treasured assets – the trees of our land.

By Gabriel Hemery, Sarah Simblet,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Beautiful, useful, inspirational" BBC Wildlife Book of the Month

"A delight on every page" Evening Standard

In 1664, the horticulturist and diarist John Evelyn wrote Sylva, the first comprehensive study of British trees. It was also the world's earliest forestry book, and the first book ever published by the Royal Society. Evelyn's elegant prose has a lot to tell us today, but the world has changed dramatically since his day. Now authors Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet, taking inspiration from the original work, have masterfully created a contemporary version - The New Sylva. The result is a fabulous resource that…

Book cover of The Long, Long Life of Trees

Chris Thorogood Author Of Weird Plants

From my list on to immerse you in plants.

Who am I?

My life has always been intertwined with plants. As a kid I would explore the old cemetery behind our back garden, where I would climb trees and swing from branches, pretending I was in the rainforest. I amassed quite a collection of natural history books too. I’d pore over them, memorise the names of the plants they contained, and copy the pictures, scribble them all down on paper; I think I always knew I would write and illustrate books myself one day. Today, as a botanist, I am fortunate to see beautiful plants in their natural habitats all around the world. I seek to capture the beauty I see in words. 

Chris' book list on to immerse you in plants

Chris Thorogood Why did Chris love this book?

There is something innately calming about trees, isn’t there? Even just thinking about them. Today I often read about something called Forest Bathing. I’m told it refers to being calm and quiet amongst the trees – absorbing something from them in a way that nourishes the soul. Well, that’s what this book does for me. Fiona allows us to pause and admire the common trees around us; she leads us among seventeen common species including ash, apple, pine, oak, cypress, and willow, pointing out along the way how they are entwined with human existence. 

By Fiona Stafford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A lyrical tribute to the diversity of trees, their physical beauty, their special characteristics and uses, and their ever-evolving meanings

Since the beginnings of history trees have served humankind in countless useful ways, but our relationship with trees has many dimensions beyond mere practicality. Trees are so entwined with human experience that diverse species have inspired their own stories, myths, songs, poems, paintings, and spiritual meanings. Some have achieved status as religious, cultural, or national symbols.

In this beautifully illustrated volume Fiona Stafford offers intimate, detailed explorations of seventeen common trees, from ash and apple to pine, oak, cypress, and…

Book cover of Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

Charline Davis Author Of Rowtu: The New Horizon

From Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Dog lover Artist Dreamer Classical singer

Charline's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Charline Davis Why did Charline love this book?

Translated from the French children’s novel by Timothée de Fombelle, this sequel to Toby Alone is miles deeper in emotion and pathos than most books for children today.

Set in a civilization of minuscule people living in and around a tree, Toby and the Secrets of the Tree is an exploration of human nature at its best and worst, encapsulating what the essence and beauty of life truly is. This heartfelt little epic hit me at just the right time in my life, and the message of hope through intense trials is an uplifting one for anyone who has faced adversity.

If you love character-driven books, this one is for you!

By Timothee de Fombelle, Francois Place (illustrator), Sarah Ardizzone (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toby and the Secrets of the Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The second and final part of the thrilling adventure of heroism and friendship in an unforgettable miniature world.

Toby's world is under greater threat than ever before. A giant crater has been dug right into the centre of the Tree, moss and lichen invade the branches, and one tyrant controls it all. Leo Blue, once Toby's best friend, now his worst enemy, is holding Elisha prisoner, hunting the Grass People with merciless force, capturing all who stand in his way, inflicting a life of poverty and fear. But returning after several years among the Grass People, Toby will fight back.…

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

Sue Garnett Author Of Sammy's Big Change

From my list on teaching about nature using personification.

Who am I?

My love of children, nature, the arts, and reading have been the inspiration for my books. Growing up on a farm was the perfect place to satisfy my curiosity about nature. I enjoyed being in nature from sunrise to sunset. Not really knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I decided to major in elementary education where I could share my love for learning and keep growing, creating, and learning from my students - even as they learned from me. Through the years I wrote rough drafts and made sketches for stories filled with intriguing ideas, and respect for nature that I aspire to complete to share with others as children’s books. 

Sue's book list on teaching about nature using personification

Sue Garnett Why did Sue love this book?

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.

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…

Book cover of I Am Purpose

Dawn Doig Author Of Hair Peace

From my list on inspire children to be happy with who they are.

Who am I?

I was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, but inherited ‘travelling DNA’ from my sailor father which has led to a life of work and travel around the globe. In addition to being an audiologist and teacher, I am also the author (and sometimes illustrator) of 15 children’s picture books. Many of my books have been inspired by the special children I have had the privilege to work with as both an audiologist and teacher. My books are on a variety of topics including childhood hearing loss, dysgraphia and writing challenges, bullying and forgiveness, learning English as an additional language, and positive self-image. Some of my books are written to evoke giggles and belly laughs. 

Dawn's book list on inspire children to be happy with who they are

Dawn Doig Why did Dawn love this book?

Cute story about a little seed named Purpose who wants to be a tree. I love the picture where he looks so tiny next to the flower and he is holding a leaf in each hand with a sprout coming out of his head. He is oblivious to the fact that what he longs for is already growing inside him. The author has done a wonderful job incorporating the special “talents” of nature to counsel Purpose about the true potential that dwells within him. A great story for children who are trying to figure out who they are and what they want to be. This story would also be great for adults who doubt their abilities or question their potential. A source of inspiration for all ages

By Icia Ragsdale, Zsade Fleming (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

I am Purpose is a fictional children's book that uses nature to share in the journey of a seed, Purpose, in hopes of becoming a tree. Purpose must navigate his way, while expressing emotions in a manner that teaches children to do the same. In addition to helping children develop and expand their emotional vocabulary, I am Purpose illustrates how to persevere until the end.