The Best 48 Books About Trees

Updated Apr. 11, 2019

"It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man." – Henry David Thoreau

Not to get all poetic on you, but Thoreau knows his stuff. For those of you who don't love Thoreau, let's talk more practically about the importance of trees--they help sustain life! Trees help provide us with oxygen, give us shade in hot days, bring joy in their blossoms and changing leaves, and, of course, provide a relaxing reading spot. :) Don't be surprised at how many fantastic children's books there are centered around trees, when they do so much for us and inspire even the best of poets.

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

Tap the Magic Tree book
#2
Tap the Magic Tree
Written and illustrated by Christie Matheson
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This interactive board books has you tap the tree, jiggle the book, and blow kisses to help the tree along in it's transformation through the seasons! I'm always up for a great interactive book, and this one is no exception. The illustrations are beautiful and simple to go along with the fun changes you help the tree go through.

The acclaimed interactive picture book about the changing seasons. “Like Hervé Tullet’s Press Here, Matheson’s Tap the Magic Tree proves you don’t need apps for interactivity,” praised the New York Times. Every book needs you to turn the pages. But not every book needs you to tap it, shake it, jiggle it, or even blow it a kiss

The Night Gardener book
#3
The Night Gardener
Written and illustrated by Eric Fan, Terry Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone on Grimloch Lane enjoys the trees and shrubs clipped into animal masterpieces after dark by the Night Gardener, but William, a lonely boy, spots the artist, follows him, and helps with his special work.

The Wish Tree book
#4
The Wish Tree
Written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Chris Turnham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Charles and his Boggan set out to find a wish tree. Their journey is long and tiresome and they are slowed by the friends they stop to help on the way. When Charles falls asleep on his sled, he is aided the rest of the way by the animals of the forest. This book has a little magic to it that really comes alive in the later pages. The illustrations are beautiful and fun on the imagination. In some ways, it reminds me of The Polar Express. Different story, but similar feelings.

Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don't believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out. And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways. The poetic text and heartwarming illustrations evoke the true essence of the holiday season and will inspire wishers everywhere. This gem of a book deserves center stage year round.

Little Tree book
#5
Little Tree
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

For graduates, for their parents, for anyone facing change, here is a gorgeously illustrated and stunningly heartfelt ode to the challenges of growing up and letting go. A story of the seasons and stepping stones as poignant for parents as for their kids, from the creator of Otis the tractor and illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena. “Long’s gentle but powerful story about a young tree who holds tight to his leaves, even as everyone else lets theirs drop, takes on nothing less than the pain and sorrow of growing up. . . . As in Long’s unaccountably profound books about Otis the tractor, a pure white background somehow adds to the depth.”—The New York Times Book Review In the middle of a little forest, there lives a Little Tree who loves his life and the splendid leaves that keep him cool in the heat of long summer days. Life is perfect just the way it is. Autumn arrives, and with it the cool winds that ruffle Little Tree’s leaves. One by one the other trees drop their leaves, facing the cold of winter head on. But not Little Tree—he hugs his leaves as tightly as he can. Year after year Little Tree remains unchanged, despite words of encouragement from a squirrel, a fawn, and a fox, his leaves having long since turned brown and withered. As Little Tree sits in the shadow of the other trees, now grown sturdy and tall as though to touch the sun, he remembers when they were all the same size. And he knows he has an important decision to make.

Stuck book
#6
Stuck
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Grammy

The boy in this story may be a little single-minded when it comes to problem-solving, but wow, does he have a strong arm! There are plenty of opportunities to anticipate and predict what might happen next; just when you think he might use an object for its intended purpose and change the trajectory of the story, he lobs it into the tree. Kids find this absolutely hilarious! I love the simply-drawn illustrations and the creative variety of the boy's resources. It is a wonderful thing to be so engaged in the resolution of a problem that one is completely distracted from the problem itself.

From the illustrator of the #1 smash The Day the Crayons Quit comes another bestseller–a giggle-inducing tale of everything tossed, thrown, and hurled in order to free a kite! When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.

Our tree named Steve book
#7
Our tree named Steve
Written by Alan Zweibel and illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Dear Kids, A long time ago, when you were little, Mom and I took you to where we wanted to build a house. . . . I remember there was one tree, however, that the three of you couldn’t stop staring at. . . . After the family spares him from the builders, Steve the tree quickly works his way into their lives. He holds their underwear when the dryer breaks down, he’s there when Adam and Lindsay get their first crushes, and he’s the centerpiece at their outdoor family parties. With a surprising lack of anthropomorphizing, this is a uniquely poignant celebration of fatherhood, families, love, and change.

The Lorax book
#8
The Lorax
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Once-ler describes the results of the local pollution problem.

Oliver's Tree book
#9
Oliver's Tree
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

The illustrations for Oliver's Tree are warm and homey with an older, Winnie the Pooh feel to them. The book teaches a valuable lesson about helping friends. Oliver is sad that he can't play in the trees like his friends. While he walks away pouting and disappointed, his friends rally to build a tree house where they can all play together. The book really is quite reminiscent of a Winnie the Pooh story. It's simple and sweet. Oliver's emotions get the best of him, but that happens to most of us at some time or another, and it sure makes a difference when we have good friends to help us through.

A board book about three adorable best friends! Oliver, Charlie, and Lulu love to play outside together. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, but it’s not fun for Oliver when his friends hide in the trees—he can’t reach them! So the friends set off to find a tree that Oliver can play in. But there’s a reason we don’t see elephants in trees, and just when Oliver is ready to give up the search, Charlie and Lulu surprise him with the perfect tree for them all to play in together!

The Tree Lady book
#10
The Tree Lady
Written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens. Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees. Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city. Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.

Maple book
#11
Maple
Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Lori Nichols’ enchanting debut features an irresistible, free-spirited, nature-loving little girl who greets the changing seasons and a new sibling with arms wide open. When Maple is tiny, her parents plant a maple tree in her honor. She and her tree grow up together, and even though a tree doesn’t always make an ideal playmate, it doesn’t mind when Maple is in the mood to be loud—which is often. Then Maple becomes a big sister, and finds that babies have their loud days, too. Fortunately, Maple and her beloved tree know just what the baby needs.

The Giving Tree book
#12
The Giving Tree
Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

'Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy.' So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk...and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return. Ages 10+

Miss Twiggley's Tree book
#13
Miss Twiggley's Tree
Written and illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Funny Miss Twiggley, who lives in a house in a tree with a dog and bears, forgets her shyness and saves the townspeople when a flood hits the town.

The Great Spruce book
#14
The Great Spruce
Written by John Duvall and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Together with his grandpa, a young boy finds a way to save his favorite tree in this heartwarming Christmas tale. Alec loves to climb trees-the little apple trees, the wide willow trees, even the tall locust trees. But his favorite is the great spruce, with its sturdy trunk and branches that stretch up to the sky. Alec's grandpa planted it as a sapling years and years before Alec was born, and every Christmas, Alec and his grandpa decorate the tree together, weaving tinsel and lights through its branches, making it shine bright. But one day, a few curious men from the nearby city take notice of Alec's glistening great spruce, and ask to take it away for their Christmas celebration. Though it's a huge honor, Alec's heartbroken at the idea of losing his friend. With great courage and creativity, Alec comes up with a plan to save his favorite tree in this joyful holiday tale. Praise for The Great Spruce-

The Tickle Tree book
#15
The Tickle Tree
Written by Chae Strathie and illustrated by Poly Bernatene
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

A group of children go on a strange voyage through a fantastic and whimsical land where tickle trees tickle and luminous frinks play hide-and-seek.

Tree book
#16
Tree
Written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Through a hole in the book’s cover, an owl invites you inside to meet a majestic tree and all its forest inhabitants during the changing seasons. With clever peekaboo holes throughout, each page reveals a new set of animals playing and living in the tree—baby bears frolicking in the spring, bees buzzing around apples in the summer, squirrels storing nuts in the fall, and finally the lone owl keeping warm during the winter chill—until another year begins… . Children will love seeing a new set of animals appear and then disappear as each page is turned, and along the way they’ll learn about the seasons and how a forest and its inhabitants change throughout the year.

In My Tree book
#17
In My Tree
Written by Sara Gillingham and illustrated by Lorena Siminovich
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Turn the colorful die-cut pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little owl's tree so cozy. Is it little owl's sturdy branch and snuggly roost? No, it's his loving family! Bright pictures, reassuring messages, unique layered pages and an adorable felt finger puppet attached to each book combine to create interactive reading and playtime fun!

Up in the Leaves book
#18
Up in the Leaves
Written by Shira Boss and illustrated by Jamey Christoph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love that this book is based on a true story, and it's fun that it has an epilogue at the end with a picture of the real Bob. The thing that makes this book are the illustrations!!! They are amazing. I love that this boy persists in building his tree houses and that he finds his escape into nature in Central Park.

Bob does not like the noisy, crowded streets and school hallways of his New York City home, so he decides to build a tree house in the cool, green calm of Central Park. Includes a note about the real Bob Redman.

The Curvy Tree book
#19
The Curvy Tree
Written by Chris Colfer and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The debut picture book from #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer Once upon a time, there was a little girl who didn't quite fit in. When she runs away, she happens upon a curvy tree who helps her understand the importance of being different! This picture book stands alone, but also plays an important role in the Land of Stories series--making this a must-have book for fans and new readers alike!

Chick Pea and the Changing Trees book
#20
Chick Pea and the Changing Trees
Written and illustrated by Linda Cole Design Ltd.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Invites readers to pull the tabs in the book and experience the changing seasons along with Chick Pea and her friend Sweet Pea.

We Planted a Tree book
#21
We Planted a Tree
Written by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Simple text reveals the benefits of planting a single tree, both to those who see it grow and to the world as a whole.

Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree book
#22
Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree
Written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

For avid readers especially, this story about building a little community library is charming, with everyone bringing a little something of themselves to share. The illustrations are lovely and feel calm and soothing.

This new adventure with Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends uses simple prose and radiant illustrations to shine a light on the joy of reading and the importance of working together. One day Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends discover a hollow tree in the middle of the forest. What can be done with one ordinary tree? "I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it," Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn't only for books. Little by little, one by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy!

Fall Is Not Easy book
#23
Fall Is Not Easy
Written and illustrated by Marty Kelley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A tree tells why, out of all four seasons, autumn is the hardest.

Little Acorn book
#24
Little Acorn
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This board book is so cute, talking about how an acorn turns into a big tree! The illustrations are really fun, but the one thing I didn't like was that there were a few spots where the rhyme scheme just doesn't work.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a little acorn becomes a big oak tree? This beautifully illustrated story will delight children and parents alike, and also offers a perfect introduction to the life cycle of trees.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#25
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!