Protect the trees is the rallying call behind Tree Beings, a children’s book recently published by EK Books. With a foreword by anthropologist Jane Goodall, the book shows kids (and adults) the massive impact that trees have on our lives. It’s a fascinating read and one that we recommend to protect these “silent statues”.
The book aimed for kids aged 7 to 12 is packed with engaging and educational facts about trees as well as scientists, explorers and pioneers who are engaged in learning about trees and conserving them.
Far from being a boring academic book, the content of Tree Beings is brought to life through its beautiful illustrations. Each page spread contains a detailed illustration of a tree, person or creature or item related to the content. The detail is exquisite and it’s especially heartwarming to see the book starting with an illustration of branches and a birdnest and ending with roots and creatures below the earth.
It’s easy to forget the impact that trees have on our lives. But this book explains how trees contribute to our environment helping our air, water, soil and wildlife. As well as removing carbon dioxide, trees move water around from their roots to the sky, keep the soil together as well as providing shelter and food for animals.
They also have physical, emotional and spiritual significance. Tree provide food such as fruits and syrup and their timber and leaves are used for shelter. Trees feature in our culture through literary references like this Shakespeare quote “These trees shall be my books” as well as figuring prominently in holiday celebrations. Look how we decorate and adorn trees for Christmas.
As well as information about trees, Tree Beings contains profiles of different people and groups involved in tree conservation.
- Julia Butterfly Hill who spent two years up a redwood tree in California to protect it from being logged.
- School boy Felix Finkbeiner who started an organisation to plant more trees in Germany when he was 9.
- Australian Tony Rinaudo who is involved in the development of 200 million trees, regrown from their stumps in Niger in Africa.
- Professor Suzanne Simard who studies how trees communicate with each other through their roots.
- Professor Nalini Nadkarni who works on tree conservation efforts through art, dance, music and science.
The choice of case studies is exceptional as it shows that you don’t need to be a scientist or academic to make a difference. You just need to do something as even a small action can make a difference. Recycle paper and paper products, plant a tree, protest against the logging of native forest and learn more about trees.
It’s a book that we recommend reading with your kids as it is a conversation starter. Talk about the facts and people in the book. You can also together try to spot the 70 creatures cleverly hidden on the illustration of the tree on the front cover (harder than it looks). In addition, take take to spot trees on your neighbourhood walk or visit to a local park.
City of Newcastle has recently put together a Tree Map which shows all of the street and park trees that are currently part of Newcastle’s urban forest. You can search the map by entering a suburb, street address, park name, or tree asset ID. Then find a nice shady tree and bring this inspirational book with you to read.
Tree Beings is published by EK Books. RRP $34.99. The book is available from www.ekbooks.org and wherever great books are sold. Review copy provided to Newy with Kids.
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