Obscure Holiday Book Roundup: National Love a Tree Day

May 16 is National Love a Tree Day! And we’re celebrating with a list of children’s books that feature individual trees worthy of your love. We’ve got magical trees, sentient trees, talking trees, special-but-nonetheless-treelike-trees, and we even have some good ol’ nonfiction trees! Whether you love them or love to hate them, show our floral friends some respect, because without them, we wouldn’t have any air to breathe or, more importantly, pages to read.

Older Readers

The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

When Faith’s father is found dead in an alleged suicide, she turns to the Mendacity Tree—which feeds on lies rather than sunshine, delivering truths rather than blooms—in order to seek justice for his murder.

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

When a young a boy is forced to watch his mother succumb to cancer, the yew tree outside his home takes the shape of a giant, fable-spouting monster that visits him in the night to help guide him through his grief and doubt.

Middle Readers

The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier

As a pair of orphaned siblings make their way through Victorian England, they find work as servants in a creepy country manor where a huge, sinister tree is growing into the house and casting a spell over its inhabitants.

The Skeleton Tree

Skeleton Tree, by Kim Ventrella

Stanly discovers a bone protruding from the ground in his backyard, which soon grows into a full skeleton. He’s sure this amazing discovery will convince his father to return home, but instead it forces him to confront the realities of his younger sister’s illness.

Tree Girl

Tree Girl, by T. A. Barron

Nine-year-old Rowanna is lured by High Willow, the great tree, into the forbidden woods near her seaside home, where she learns the magical reality of the woods and the truth behind her own secret origins.


Wishtree, by Katherine Applegate

When Red, a century-old oak tree, has the word leave scrawled into her trunk—a threat to the neighborhood’s new Muslim family—she and her animal friends decide to act before Red can be cut down by her owner.

Younger Readers


Bertolt, by Jacques Goldstyn

Bertolt, an ancient oak tree, is one young boy’s only friend. When the tree fails to bloom in the spring, the boy is forced to ponder the tree’s end and decide how to properly commemorate it.

Strange Trees

Strange Trees: And the Stories behind Them, by Bernadette Pourquie and illustrated by Cecile Gambini

In a narrative that’s part geography lesson, part ecology study, and part picture essay, various peculiar trees tell their stories in first person, including details about their origins and how humans came to realize their uses.

About the Author:

Ronny Khuri is an associate editor for Books for Youth at Booklist. He has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. His dæmon is a Siamese cat named Tiger Lily.

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