Be a Tree!

by Maria Gianferrari (Author) Felicita Sala (Illustrator)

Be a Tree!
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A lyrical, gorgeously illustrated look at the majesty of trees--and what humans can learn from them

Stand tall. Stretch your branches to the sun. Be a tree!

We are all like trees: our spines, trunks; our skin, bark; our hearts giving us strength and support, like heartwood. We are fueled by air and sun. And, like humans, trees are social. They "talk" to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are stronger together. In this gorgeous and poetic celebration of one of nature's greatest creations, acclaimed author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Felicita Sala both compare us to the beauty and majesty of trees--and gently share the ways in which trees can inspire us to be better people.

Select format:
$17.99 $19.99

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Strong heartwood.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

"Stand tall. Stretch your branches to the sun." Gianferrari writes a hymn to attributes shared by humans and trees, guiding readers through lessons to be learned from their arboreal brethren. The bodies of trees and humans are not so different ("Your skin is bark, / protecting what's within"), and both species live in communities, sharing information. Trees signal each other through underground networks of roots and fungi: they "alert each other to danger. A wood wide web of information." In strong, sweeping lines, Sala draws massive trees with trunks of green and brown, but also lilac, rust, and deep blue, that often dwarf the children playing underneath them; visitors of many ages and ethnicities stroll under the trees in a park. Diversity enhances both communities; "Immigrant trees, away from their native habitats, are vulnerable. But together, a forest of trees is strong." By foregrounding living beings that exemplify grace, strength, and endurance, Gianferrari gives readers a new way to think about their individual and collective existences. Back matter includes information about trees, community-building, and more. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This book has the advantage of lyrical, accessible poetry and vibrant watercolors from an ever changing palette."— "Kirkus Reviews"
Maria Gianferrari

Maria Gianferrari is a picture book reading/writing, tea-drinking, dog-loving, birdwatching resident of Massachusetts. She lives with her scientist husband in a house encircled by trees. Maria writes books that honor our bonds with creatures both domestic and wild, and that celebrate the natural world around us.

Ishaa Lobo is a children's book illustrator based in London. Her art follows themes of nature, comfort, and snippets of everyday life, often drawing inspiration from her childhood. She loves exploring new cities, going on walks, and watching her favorite movies over and over again.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date
March 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV029010 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | Environment
JUV009120 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Body
Library of Congress categories
Toy and movable books
Picture books
Community life
Comparison (Philosophy)

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!