The Tree Lady

The warm weather is finally here. It’s enjoyable to feel the warmth of the sun, but sometimes the shade of a tree is as equally enjoyable. Trees are important to our environment for many reasons. One woman was well-aware of this. The Tree Lady written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry tells the story of Kate Sessions, a tree-loving woman who changed the landscape of San Diego.

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The story begins in the 1860s – a time when girls were supposed to be learning how to run a household. Kate was different. She loved the outdoors. In school, Kate was interested in anything to do with science. In particular, Kate loved trees. She was fascinated by how tall they grew, how their branches stretched outward, and how they provided homes for animals. Kate graduated from college with a degree in science and accepted a teaching job in San Diego – a dry, desert town. The first thing Kate noticed was the lack of trees. After two years of teaching, Kate decided to become a gardener. Her mission was to find a variety of trees that would withstand the sunshine and dry soil of San Diego. Soon trees from Kate’s nursery were planted along streets, around schools, in parks, and in people’s yards. When it was announced the Panama-California Exposition was going to be held in City Park in San Diego, Kate felt the park needed more trees – thousands more! With the help of friends and volunteers, there were tree-planting parties. By the time the exposition opened, there were millions of trees and plants growing in what is now called Balboa Park. Thanks to Kate Sessions and her passion for trees and plants, San Diego is the beautiful city it is today.

Hopkins pays a lovely tribute to Kate Sessions, and the charming illustrations by Jill McElmurry add to the allure of the book. This non-fiction picture book is a wonderful treat to share with children. It shows what can be accomplished when you believe in yourself and have a passion for something.

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4 Comments on “The Tree Lady”


  1. Cathy–Thanks for sharing! Lovely book & story!

  2. Uncle Tree Says:

    I do LIKE it! 🙂 Best wishes!


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