Looking for a good book to read? There is nothing better than a good book recommendation!
As the tree-lovers that we are, we have read a good few books about nature. There are so many out there, and we struggled to list our favorite, but we managed to narrow it down. It is quite an eclectic selection, but that’s what’s great about this topic, it ‘s endless!
And these great reads will be sure to leave you enchanted with trees, plants and Mother Nature forever!
Without further ado, here are what we think are the best books about trees and nature!
Top 10 Best Books About Trees and Nature
1. The Hidden Life Of Trees
by Peter Wohlleben
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific mechanisms behind these wonders, of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group.
As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.
This is by far one of our favorite books about tree, we actually wrote a whole Blog post about it!
2. Wildwood: a journey through trees
By Roger Deakin
From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women.At once autobiography, history, a traveller’s tale and a work of natural history, Wildwood is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives.
3. The Worm Forgives The Plough
By John Stewart Collins
During the Second World War, John Stewart Collins volunteered to leave his comfortable life as an academic to work on the land for the war effort. His account of this time perfectly captures the soft-handed, city-dweller’s naivety and wonder both at the workings of nature and the toughness of life on a farm. It’s set in the south of England and comprises exquisitely written sections on whatever happens to take Collis’s fancy and inspire his thoughtful curiosity, ranging from humorous sketches of the characters he works alongside; mini-essays such as ‘Contemplation upon Ants’, The Mystery of Clouds’, ‘Colloquy on the Rick’, ‘Meditation while Singling Mangolds’, ‘The Garden of Eden’; and celebrations of the earthworm, pea and potato. His mind ranges far and wide through literature science and philosophy as well as amazing descriptive writing, which makes for a book that is as uncategorisable as it is enchanting.
4. The Overstory
By Richard Powers
This tangled epic about diverse lives is rooted in environmental principles. The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
A New York Times Bestseller.
5. Tree: A Life Story
by David Suzuki , Wayne Grady and Peter Wohlleben
All across the planet, trees literally hold the world together. This is the awe-inspiring biography of a single tree, from the moment the seed is released from its cone until, more than five hundred years later, it lies on the forest floor as a nurse log, giving life to ferns, mosses and hemlocks, even as its own life is ending.
David Suzuki and Wayne Grady describe in lyrical detail the dramatic origins of a Douglas fir, which begins its life with a burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen. They uncover its amazing resilience, and also its vulnerability across its long life in the forest. The tree’s pivotal role in making life possible for the creatures around it–including human beings–is lovingly explored. It was impossible to list the best books about trees and not mention this one!
6. The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative
By Florence Williams
From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas—and the answers they yield—are more urgent than ever.
7. The Man Who Planted Trees
Short story by Jean Giono
The Man Who Planted Trees is a short story published in 1953 by French author Jean Giono. An allegorical tale, it tells the story of one shepherd’s long and successful single-handed effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in Provence throughout the first half of the 20th century.
8. Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees
By Nancy Ross Hugo
Have you ever looked at a tree? That may sound like a silly question, but there is so much more to notice about a tree than first meets the eye. Seeing Trees celebrates seldom seen but easily observable tree traits and invites you to watch trees with the same care and sensitivity that birdwatchers watch birds. Many people, for example, are surprised to learn that oaks and maples have flowers, much less flowers that are astonishingly beautiful when viewed up close.
Focusing on widely grown trees, this captivating book describes the rewards of careful and regular tree viewing, outlines strategies for improving your observations, and describes some of the most visually interesting tree structures, including leaves, flowers, buds, leaf scars, twigs, and bark. In-depth profiles of ten familiar species—including such beloved trees as white oak, southern magnolia, white pine, and tulip poplar—show you how to recognize and understand many of their most compelling (but usually overlooked) physical features. Truly one of the best books about trees around!
9. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
By Michael Pollan
Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?
10. Complete book of self-sufficiency: The Classic Guide For Realists and Dreamers
By John Seymour
John Seymour has inspired thousands to make more responsible, enriching, and eco-friendly choices with his advice on living sustainably. The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency offers step-by-step instructions on everything from chopping trees to harnessing solar power; from growing fruit and vegetables, and preserving and pickling your harvest, to baking bread, brewing beer, and making cheese. Seymour shows you how to live off the land, running your own smallholding or homestead, keeping chickens, and raising (and butchering) livestock.
In a world of mass production, intensive farming, and food miles, Seymour’s words offer an alternative: a celebration of the joy of investing time, labour, and love into the things we need. While we aren’t all be able to move to the countryside, we can appreciate the need to eat food that has been grown ethically or create things we can cherish, using skills that have been handed down through generations. With refreshed, retro-style illustrations and a brand-new foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this new edition of Seymour’s classic title is a balm for anyone who has ever sought solace away from the madness of modern life.
You may also be interested in these other very good books about nature that we recently mentioned in our Blog:
Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation by Yoshifumi Miyazaki.
Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever! by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra and Martin Zucker
Top 5 Best Books About Nature and Trees For Children
1. Here We Are
By Oliver Jeffers
This is an exquisite and thought-provoking new book.
Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you’ve only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else… Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.
2. The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
By H. Joseph Hopkins
Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.
Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.
Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city.
Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.
3. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
By Jeanette Winter
This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change.
4. The Magic and Mystery Of Trees
By Royal Horticultural Society, Jen Green and Claire McElfatrick
Learn about the amazing natural science of trees in this gorgeously illustrated nature and science ebook. From the highest branch and leaf down to the complex “wood wide web” of roots, every part of a tree plays an important role in its own growth and the habitat of the whole forest or woodland.
Did you know that trees take care of each other and that the whole forest is connected? The Magic & Mystery of Trees takes children on a fascinating journey of exploration, showing them just how special these mighty organisms are. Discover how they communicate and warn each other of predators, how they nurture their networks, record the past, and anticipate the future to ensure their survival. Learn amazing tree facts, meet extraordinary trees from around the world and learn about the habitats they create. Find out what trees do for us and how to make your community a greener place by planting your very own tree!
5. 101 Small Ways to Change the World
By Aubre Andrus
It’s hard to believe that you could change the world, but it’s true! We’ll show you loads of awesome ways to help out family, friends, yourself and the planet – and show how you’re never too young to make a big difference. Includes random acts of kindness, craft projects, energy-saving ideas and much more.
101 Small Ways to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond! Remember, all big ideas start with just one person who decides to do things differently. You could be that person.
What do you think of our list of best books about trees and nature? Have you read any of them or would you like to add one to the list? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section below!
You may also enjoy our list of Best Documentaries To Watch About Nature and our list of Best Documentaries To Watch About The Planet.
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