The Wisdom of Trees by Lita Judge

Happy Tuesday! Lita Judge is here today to share what inspired her to write and illustrate The Wisdom of Trees. Thank you, Lita! Over to you...

Lita Judge: I've been working on The Wisdom of Trees for several years and the topic feels very close to me. I was born on a small island, deep in the Tongass National Forest of Alaska and grew up under the giant Douglas Fir of the coastal rainforest. Later I worked as an environmental geologist in the Pacific Northwest, trying to mitigate landslides and to preserve stands of old growth forest.

I fell in love with trees, as I think most people do, for their majestic beauty and strength above ground. But below ground they are super organisms, communicating with one another, feeding one another, working together to ward off attacking insects, and literally helping one another survive disease and injury. They have a sense of community and a cooperative wisdom. Their survival depends on the whole community working together. While writing and illustrating this book I had set out to learn about trees, but instead, I realized I was learning from them. 

It has been an exciting time to create this book. There are several scientists around the world doing leading edge research, and much has recently been written for an adult audience. But not much has been written for children. I traveled extensively into many different forests, particularly so that I could create the artwork for this book. I wanted to do these illustrations in a very naturalistic style. I felt it was important to paint the trees as they are, rather than putting my own style into them. I wanted to give them a voice. 

I hope you enjoy this book that grew from a place of wonder for trees. And I hope this is a book you'll enjoy sharing with young readers. 

Thank you, Lita!

Lita Judge is the author and illustrator of several award-winning picture books for young readers, including How Big Were Dinosaurs?, Bird Talk, Born in the Wild, Flight School, and Red Sled. She also wrote and illustrated a young adult free verse biography of Mary Shelley titled Mary's Monster. She lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, with her husband, two cats, and a parrot.

Look for The Wisdom of Trees on March 2, 2021. 

Macmillan's Description: A lyrical and informational nonfiction picture book that tells the story of trees and the hidden ecosystems they create.

Trees may seem like stoic, independent organisms, but in fact, they are nature's number one community builders. They create intricate networks in their environments that go far beyond offering a hollow log for a home or seeds for food.

In this stunning nonfiction picture book, Lita Judge pairs poems with factoid sidebars to tell the remarkable story of trees. Packed with accessible information and finely illustrated, The Wisdom of Trees is a fascinating exploration of how trees communicate, learn from their ancestors, and give back to their communities.


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