Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: The Trees

November 26, 2019

“Sometimes a tree can tell you more than can be read in a book.”  —Carl Jung

Do trees make sound? Do they talk amongst themselves? Do they talk to us?

What do they tell us? The season of the year? Their life story? The tale of the surrounding community?

Here are a few photos from my collection:


Sit by a tree. Just sit. Can you hear or feel the humming inside the trunk? That’s the sap. It might be rising or falling.

Who lives in the tree you are sitting next to?

Collect as many parts of the trees you can find that have fallen on the ground. Arrange your collection. Make a collage.

Make a list of the parts and how each looks or feels. Select from your list and make a list poem.

Make a list of all the ways you use parts from a tree in just one day—think about furniture, books, toys, shelter, school, writing ….

Grab a camera or your phone and wander through your neighborhood, or when you’re on a vacation, and take photos of the interesting trees you find. When you get home, label them so you remember where you met those trees. Do the photos suggest a story to you?


CelebriTrees: Historical & Famous Trees of the World, Margi Preus, illus. by Rebecca Gibbon, Henry Holt, 2011

Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, written and illustrated by Lynne Cherry, HMH Books for Children, 2000

Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park, written and illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani, Candlewick, 2019

Lost Forest, Phyllis Root, illus. by Betsy Bowen, University of Minnesota Press, 2019

North Woods Girl, Aimée Bissonette, illus. by Claudia McGehee, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015

Redwoods, written and illustrated by Jason Chin, Square Fish, Macmillan, 2017

Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors, David George Haskell, Penguin, 2018. This book is written for grown-up readers but they would make wonderful stories to adapt for your own storytelling.

Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups, Gina Ingoglia, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 2013

Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Lady Changed a City Forever, H. Joseph Hopkins, illus. by Jill McElmurry, Beach Lane Books, 2013

Trees: A Rooted History, Piotr Socha, illus. by Wojciech Grajkowski, Harry N. Abrams Books, 2019

Trees, Leaves, and Bark (a Take-Along Guide), Diane Burns, Cooper Square Publishing

Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Trees, Patricia Daniels, National Geographic Children’s Books, 2017

Enjoy these websites and news articles:

Arbor Day Foundation

Conserve Natural Forests, a non-profit organization

Protecting Forests,

Stand for Trees

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...