For the Love of Trees

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 ( 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: (


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