I go to the library weekly to read picture books. Sometimes I’m in mission mode because of an article I read on an author or because of mentor texts I want to read. Sometimes I just peruse the stacks and randomly pick books. Admittedly, this technique of exposing myself to the craft leads to more judging a book by its cover than is fair, but covers and titles do sell books.
Two weeks ago, I almost didn’t make my usual library trip because I was exhausted from clearing huge limbs from a tree that fell on and next to our house on the night of July 14. See (http://www.halcyonnature.com/2015/07/29/a-dying-friend/) for the story. I wasn’t just exhausted, I was sad. I wanted to express my love for this tree and did not know how, and so my picture book searching that day had little energy.
Serendipitously, I pulled out a true gem, and some much needed therapy. In my hands was a book titled Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel and illustrated by David Catrow (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2005). With splendid honesty and simplicity Zweibel tells the story of a family with a special tree. A tree that stands by them in all their needs as they grow. The story is told as a letter the dad writes to his children while they are visiting their grandparents because their beloved tree had fallen in a storm. The dad found a way to keep a constant memory of their cherished friend (I won’t spoil the ending).
I love this book! It is a perfect example of how a book can speak to a reader and comfort them or empower him or her. This book empowered me to write the blog post about my special tree. I hope you too have a special tree, or at least, I hope you’ll seek out and read Our Tree Named Steve.
For a lesson plan that uses this book, please go to: (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-Making-Connections-and-Science-Tree-Resources-Lesson-1995879)