Nell Plants a Tree

by Anne Wynter (Author) Daniel Miyares (Illustrator)

Nell Plants a Tree
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

This gorgeous picture book shows how one little girl's careful tending of a pecan tree creates the living center of a loving, intergenerational Black family. For Earth Day and every day! Perfect for fans of Matt de la Peña and Oge Mora.

Before her grandchildren climbed the towering tree,

explored its secret nests,

raced to its sturdy trunk,

read in its cool shade,

or made pies with its pecans . . .

Nell buried a seed.

And just as Nell's tree grows and thrives with her love and care, so do generations of her close-knit family.

Inspired by the pecan trees of the creators' own childhoods, Anne Wynter's lyrical picture book, brought to life with breathtaking illustrations by Daniel Miyares, brims with wonder and love.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Toggling between two timelines, Wynter (Everybody in the Red Brick Building) tells a warm, affectionate story behind a cherished pecan tree and an intergenerational family. In an opening sequence, several Black-presenting children, including one wearing a pair of sturdy overalls, enjoy rural pleasures: climbing a huge pecan tree, resting on a wide farmhouse porch, and reveling in just- baked pecan pie. In the other timeline, the Nell of the title, who wears an old-fashioned yellow dress, finds a seed, buries it in a pot, and tends the resultant sapling until it can be planted outside. Deliberately paced page turns reveal that the pecan tree the children are climbing is the same one Nell planted, and that Nell, much older, is now the matriarch of a large, lively family. Pen and ink, gouache, and collage artwork by Miyares (Big and Small and In-Between) exudes the golden light of autumn, and prose by Wynter shimmers with evocative sense words--it's almost possible to smell the pie. Creators' notes conclude. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator's agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Jan.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Toggling between two timelines, Wynter tells a warm, affectionate story behind a cherished pecan tree and an intergenerational family. Pen and ink, gouache, and collage artwork by Miyares exudes the golden light of autumn, and prose by Wynter shimmers with evocative sense words—it's almost possible to smell the pie." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Gorgeous images and text chronicle joyful childhood experiences—a future classic." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Wynter's text sings with the economy and elegance of a poem, and specificities delight ("a leaf flecked with holes"). Miyares's illustrations, which capture light especially well, reflect the wonder of friends, family, the outdoors—and the magnificence of a tree that began when 'Nell picks up a seed.'" — Horn Book (starred review)

"Miyares' pen-and-ink, gouache, and collage illustrations pair well with the two story lines, effectively expanding the concept of a family tree being both a physical tree and a representation of loving relationships." — Booklist (starred review)

"A beautiful homage to how the labor and vision of previous generations can benefit so many who come after. Miyares' illustrations capture that ineffable sense of home... and gouache collage lends each spread a timeless glow that is perfectly suited to Wynter's text. This would be an excellent read-aloud choice for Arbor Day or Earth Day."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Wynter's prose is spare, lighting like a little blue bird on the moments that matter, and it combines with Daniel Miyares' recognizable ink and gouache artwork to skillfully elicit the feel of a lazy summer day....Generations of readers will be inspired by this sweet story to plant seeds of their own." — BookPage

"Care, growth and abundance for the future — in both tree and family — make this a vital, timely book." — Toronto Star

Anne Wynter
Anne Wynter is the Ezra Jack Keats Honor-winning author of Everybody in the Red Brick Building, One Big Day, and Hands On! She earned a degree in theatre from Washington University in St. Louis and penned a number of short plays that have been produced around the country. She currently lives in Austin, TX with her family.

Shirley Hottier is an award-winning French Edinburgh-based freelance illustrator and urban designer. She has a passion for promoting diversity as a way to celebrate her multiple cultures, through the warm, lively scenes and characters she crafts. With a dash of humor, her illustrations capture the small moments that make life beautiful.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
January 31, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV029000 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | General
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
Library of Congress categories
Picture books

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