Posted tagged ‘Trees’

The Tree Lady

June 5, 2014

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.

That One Inch

December 12, 2013

Our house vomits Christmas! It’s in-your-face. There are snowflakes,

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candles, garland, bows,

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poinsettias,

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a Christmas village,

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snowmen, lights,

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 trees,

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trees,

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and more trees.

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I seriously considered cutting back on the decorations this year. Then we found out the “newlyweds” will be home for Christmas, and they’re looking forward to the whole shebang!

In order to get the just-right Christmas look, things need to be put away before the Christmas elves can begin. Storage proves to be a challenge, and retrieving everything after Christmas proves to be an even bigger challenge! (Now where did I put that?) Things go down the stairs to the basement. Other things come up the stairs. Up and down, up and down. It’s a Christmas workout!

For about a week, our house is in upheaval as we slowly decorate. The clutter makes me a crazy woman, but I mostly manage to keep it together because I know when we’re finished we’ll revel in a job well done.

There is just one thing that pushes us over the edge. It’s the final placement of the big Christmas tree. In my world, it has to be perfectly placed. My husband calls it “that one inch.” It’s true. No matter where the tree ends up, it seems that it needs to be adjusted – just a bit. As my husband and I survey what we have accomplished, he is ready to declare it finished and relax. When I suggest he get back down on the floor and pull the tree a little bit to the right, or maybe a little to the left, or maybe a little bit forward or backward – that’s when he loses it. You’d think after all these years he’d be used to my quirks. I guess that’s what keeps this marriage going. It’s that one inch! And that one inch makes for a perfect tree!

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Here’s a great book about a Christmas tree that would be very difficult to move “that one inch.” The Carpenter’s Gift:  A Christmas Tale About The Rockefeller Center Tree written by  David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, Random House, 2011.

Love A Tree

May 16, 2013

Today is LOVE A TREE DAY!  Every tree offers something magical – fragrant blossoms, cool shade, perfect climbing branches, colorful autumn leaves, oxygen, fruits, nuts, homes for animals, hiding places. I can’t imagine a landscape without a tree. Trees are a gift to us.

When I was in grade school, we had to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees.” There were giggles and shades of embarrassment as the words, breast and bosom, stumbled out of our mouths. But the poem has stuck with me. I can still recite it, and I no longer get embarrassed when I do. Kilmer’s poem reads like a thank you prayer. The words in the last line —“But only God can make a tree”— are  powerful words and food for thought.

Here are some tree books that offer some food for thought.

A Tree Is Nice written by Janice May Udry and illustrated by Marc Simont

This book is a Caldecott Award Winner. In simple text, Udry tells how a tree can bring enjoyment to all.

Someday a Tree written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ronald Himler

Careless dumping of toxic materials destroys a beloved tree, but a little girl discovers something she can do to make others hope for a new beginning.

The Giving Tree written and illustrated by Shel Silvertein

A relationship between a boy and tree demonstrates unconditional love.

The Grandad Tree written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Sharon Wilson

An apple tree grows and changes through the seasons just like the children’s grandad changes through the season of his life. Watching nature, the children realize special memories will never die.

Give a tree a hug today!


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