September 6, 2022 /
Christina Hester

Tree-minded Reading

September 6th is National Read a Book Day! In celebration, we’ve put together a list of tree-focused books that will inspire you to look at and love trees even more than you already do. (Who knew that was possible?!)  

Wildwood: A Journey through Trees by Roger Deakin 

In Deakin’s glorious meditation on wood, the reader accompanies Deakin through different forests across the world in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with trees. As the world’s forests are whittled away, Deakin’s sparkling prose evokes woodlands filled with life, rendering each tree as an individual, living being. Becoming an instant traveler’s tale and a splendid work of natural history, Wildwood reveals, even within the world’s marvelous diversity, that there are things universal in human experience. 




The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. A moving, beautifully written, and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history, and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees is Elif Shafak’s best work yet.



The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.   


The Man who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

Simply written, but powerful and unforgettable, this short story is a parable for modern times. In the foothills of the French Alps the narrator meets a shepherd who has quietly taken on the task of planting one hundred acorns a day to try and reforest his desolate region. Not even two world wars can keep the shepherd from continuing his solitary work. Gradually, this gentle, persistent man’s work comes to fruition: the region is transformed; life and hope return; the world is renewed. 




The Overstory by Richard Powers 

The Overstory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn into its unfolding catastrophe. 




Casey Trees Species Guide 

Of course, this wouldn’t be a full and complete list without our very own Tree Species Guide! If you’ve ever seen a tree and wondered what it was, this waterproof guide with over 50 species found in the DC metro area is for you.


Growing Above: Trees on Structures 

Lastly, if you’re in search of the perfect coffee table book that screams “I love trees!” – our book Growing Above: Trees on Structures is the perfect match for you. This book highlights projects throughout the District that feature different types of trees on structures. From the Kennedy Center, to Earth Day Park, to CityCenterDC, we celebrate the designers and developers who are making waves in green infrastructure and aim to inspire others to follow in their path.