Greeting parents and caregivers! At the behest of my imaginative father-in-law, I’ve decided to build my kiddos a tree house in my backyard (he’s doing most of the work). It’s currently in its primordial stages, but upon completion, it will have a firefighter’s pole, a secret passageway, a tiny trampoline, a (non-functioning) fireplace, and lots of bookcases. It’s been a daunting build, but the bottom floor is nearly complete I am now able to envision the imaginative fun my children will enjoy this Fall. Nestled in the treetops, surrounded by the sounds of leaves and birds, my little ones will enjoy the gentle hum of nature as they add to its symphony with tiny footsteps and giggles.
This month’s selections are in honor of…trees! It’s true that I’m a few months late for Arbor Day, but why not celebrate these incredible plants anyway? They have provided lumber for my treehouse project, shade for my backyard, and shelter to the amazing creatures I hope my sons and daughter will observe from their treehouse this autumn. Whether it’s a backyard play fort, the neighborhood park, or your own tree house, may you share imaginative play and bring some Autumn into the lives of your little ones this month. Until next time, keep reading together!
The Forever Tree by Tereasa Surratt and Donna Luka (illustrated by Nicola Slater)
This is a fun read for 8 to 11-year-olds based on the true story of a giant elm tree at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. After the healthy tree contracted Dutch elm disease and died, the owner of the camp decided to give the tree a second life by building a treehouse around its trunk. The result was amazing. You can read more about the treehouse here or by reading this book!
Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins (illustrated by Emily Hughes)
Whether in a tree house, fort, or just sprawled out in the grass, this would be a perfect outdoor read. I love the treehouses the children in this book create and the imaginative play that fills every page.
Wonderfall by Michael Hall
I thought this book was so much fun to read aloud. It’s told from a tree’s point of view as autumn arrives. Little ones will enjoy saying the autumn-themed words on each page (wonder-fall, plenti-fall, delight-fall) and two full spreads at the back of the book give information about woodland creatures, baby trees (saplings), and seeds.
The Great Spruce by John Duvall (illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon)
This is a fictionalized account of how the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center arrived from 1942-1945: as a transplant. I found it so interesting that from 1942-1945 the iconic tree wasn’t simply cut down. Instead, it was dug up, transported, planted in Rockefeller Center and then returned to its native environment after the holidays.
Another Way to Climb a Tree by Liz Garton Scanlon (illustrated by Hadley Hooper)
Lulu is a tree climber; in fact, she’s the best tree climber in town. When she gets sick, she pines for time with her bark-wrapped companions. Little Lulu will stop at nothing to get back among the branches, even if it means employing a little imagination and creative play.
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon (illustrated by Lee White)
This charming story of generosity and friendship highlights the importance of caring for the Earth and caring for each other. It includes lots of information about how beneficial trees are to people, including erosion control, food-bearing, and shade-giving, among other things.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
If you have never read this classic, I highly recommend it. It’s perhaps the penultimate tale of generosity and love wrapped up in a package that children and adults can understand and discuss with one another.
Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup
This book is a perfect interactive read-aloud for preschoolers. As the seasons change activity abounds within the branches of the great tree. Readers discover the various goings-on within little windows cut into the pages of the book, so figure on lots of extra time to stop and talk about all the hidden pictures your little ones notice.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
This book has always been my favorite Dr. Seuss tale. Rife with memorable characters, unmistakable foreshadowing, and Seuss’s usual whimsy, The Lorax is another book that children and adults will both adore.