Canopy’s ultimate reading list: the best books about trees

By Canopy Team on January 6, 2022

Is “read more books” on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Get cozy this winter with a couple of our favorite tree-themed books, including recommendations from Canopy staff and Community Forestry School presenters and students.

What started as a much shorter list has blossomed into Canopy’s ultimate reading list, a comprehensive catalog of 60+ books including memoirs, field guides, photojournalism, fiction, children’s books, and more.

Keep an eye on our blog each month for a new installment in the series!

Where to find these books:

  1. The library: Visiting the local library is our favorite way to support a community institution and promoting reuse rather than new production of trees into paper.
  2. Second-hand bookstore: Can’t find these at your library but want to support a local business? Find a used bookstore and help give these pre-owned paperbacks new life.
  3. Local bookstore: Okay, okay. My library doesn’t own this book and the used bookstore doesn’t have it in stock – what now? With many of the recommendations, we’ve linked to the book on the Books Inc. website, an independently owned and operated bookseller with 10 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and a history dating back to the Gold Rush Days of 1851.

This month’s theme: Plant Wisdom

Our first collection in the series includes books about the wisdom of plants and our connection to nature. This new year, let’s reset by exploring the root of our relationship with nature around us and finding scientific and spiritual truths about ourselves, this earth, and humankind in the wisdom of trees.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. She calls on the reader to celebrate our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world in order to understand the generosity of the earth.

Buy it

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Science supports a truth that poets, artists, mystics, and cultures across the world have long held true: life on this planet is radically interconnected. Our whole selves affect and are affected by nature. In this time of crisis, how can we best live upon our imperiled, beloved earth?

Buy it

How I Became a Tree by Sumana Roy

Drawn to trees’ wisdom, their nonviolent way of being, their ability to cope with loneliness and pain, Roy movingly explores the lessons that writers, painters, photographers, scientists, and spiritual figures have gleaned through their engagement with trees.

Buy it

Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori

Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. From the trees of Britain to India’s sacred banyan, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration, and the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.

Buy it

Happy reading!

Other topics in this series: Black History Month, California edition, Earth Month, Photo books, National Field Guides, Narrative books

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