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7 Books About Trees to Read on Arbor Day

On this National Arbor Day in the U.S., here are 7 books about trees to read and spark your imagination.

I don’t know what it is about the reading I’ve done in recent months, but there’s been a sharp, coincidental increase in the number of books in which trees play a central role. Some, though not all, are about climate change, while others have involved missing persons and cults. Since today is Arbor Day in the U.S., it got me brainstorming all the books about trees I could think of. Here are 7 books about trees to read this Arbor Day. If you think of others I’ve missed, drop them in the comments because I love book recommendations!

7 Books About Trees to Read on Arbor Day

Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Damnation Spring | Ash Davidson

A redwood logging community in the 1970s tries to come to terms with the impact they’ve had on the forest around them and what that means for their own future livelihoods in this emotionally complex and thoughtful novel.

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree | Shel Silverstein

The classic picture book in which a tree is present for all the major events of a boy’s life and gives him what he most needs at those times, even when it costs the tree everything it has.

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Once There Were Wolves | Charlotte McConaghy

A woman travels to Scotland to help a team of biologist attempt to reintroduce wolves back into what was once their native land to rebalance the ecosystem thrown into disarray by decades of farming and culling of natural predators (such as wolves) that previously kept tree-killing animals in check.

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Lorax | Dr. Seuss

For children and adults alike, a cautionary tale of abusing the environment, in this case specifically, the over-logging of the fantastical Truffula Trees.

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

A history of Wild Places | Shea Ernshaw

A man sets out to find a missing person only to end up in a cult-like community where damaged trees surround the perimeter are used as a signal to the community members that the outside world isn’t safe.

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón

L.A. Weather | María Amparo Escandón

When two little girls almost drown in their grandparent’s pool, it forces the family to confront secrets they each have. Set in L.A. during wildfire season, trees play an unexpectedly important role in this novel.

[3 Things I Learned About Writing From Reading L.A. Weather]

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

And on My TBR list …

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory | Richard Powers

I’ve had this novel on my TBR list since the fall of 2019 when Richard Powers spoke at the Dayton Literary Peace Prize award ceremony where this book was the runner up for the fiction prize. (It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.) According to the description, the structure of the book mimics the rings of a tree and the copy I have is intentionally printed on 100% recycled paper to drive home the environmental message of the book. 

Bookshop.org | IndieBound | Amazon

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