Friday, February 23, 2007

Tree Day Celebration

Last week, the Field Studies specialist organized a school-wide environmental awareness day which included tree planting activities. The Music specialist and I collaborated on a "TreeLit" lesson with the lower classes. We browsed some fiction and nonfiction books, studied diagrams of trees, and learned a lovely song, "I Love Trees". While preparing for the classes, I stumbled across some wonderful fiction and nonfiction titles in our collection:

Picture Books
Bunting, Eve. Some Day a Tree.
Young Alice and her family and friends band together to save a dying oak tree. When all seems lost, Alice finds hope in a simple, life affirming act.

George, Jean Craighead. One Day in the Woods.A young girl discovers many things about plant and animal life while spending the day in the woods. The story is interwoven with factual information and highlited by Gary Allen's realistic sketches.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Apples to Oregon: being the(slightly) true narrative of how a brave pioneer father brought apples, peaches, pears, plum, grapes, and cherries (and children) across the plains..A hilarious story about a man who wasn't about to leave his "babies" (trees) behind despite the many obstacles he and his family faced while heading west. Narrated by his older daughter "Delicious" whose heroic efforts make her the "apple" of her father's eyes.

Kervan, Rosalind. The Tree in the Moon and Other Legends of Plants and Trees.
A readable collection of folktales from around the world.

Sanders, Scott. Meeting Trees.
A father and his son take a walk in the woods sharing what they know about tree and the wildlife trees attract. Lushly illustrated by Robert Hynes, this National Geographic Society publication deftly weaves factual information through the narrative.

YA fiction
Smith, Betty. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
A young girl comes of age in the slums of early 20th century Brooklyn, N. Y. A tree, which grows out of the cement by her home, represents joy and hope.

We have many nonfiction children's books on trees, plants, but I really enjoyed Rona Beames' Backyard Explorer: leaf and tree guide. In a lively style, Beames discusses the types and life cycle of trees and how their leaves function. She also includes instructions for lessons and activites.