The Concord Museum and Literacy Trees

My recent visit to the Concord Museum in Concord, MA to see their annual literacy trees (my words), trees decorated in the theme of a children’s book, was outstanding.  Each tree makes a book come alive.  But first, here is the museum.

The Concord Museum is steeped in history.  After all, this is the birthplace of America’s Revolutionary War.  It houses artifacts from the town’s famous authors and artists.  It is a treasure trove of paintings, furniture, clocks, silver – all local, from the Revolutionary War forward.

Louisa May Alcott’s teapot that she used after the Civil War.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writing chair.

A highboy and stunning art that knocked my socks off.

A museum of this quality also showcases some of the best in children’s literature each year by decorating trees in the theme of a book.  Alongside the tree is a chair and the book itself, so children and adults can read the book, and become enveloped in the story.

Margaret Wise Brown’s book with beautiful new illustrations.
“From the horses to the cattle to the cat, all find comfort – as the chilly winter approaches – in the warmth of the barn and each other.” 

Check out the tree topper on Elmore, a fabulous book.
“Elmore is a prickly porcupine who has trouble making friends until the goodness of his forest community shines through.”

This book about the beginning of the universe has glorious illustrations.
“This seamless blend of science and art reveals the composition of our world and beyond – and how we are all the stuff of stars.”

I am going to buy this book.  One of the best I’ve read in a while.
“Rabbit loves carrots a little too much.  When his friends offer to help, they’re just asking for trouble…a lot of trouble!”

A classic and a favorite book!
“When all the letters of the alphabet race one another up the coconut tree will there be enough room?”


 Children write notes to adorn the “I Am Human: A Book of Empathy” tree.
“This comforting book shows that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we can show compassion by offering a kind word or smile.” 


The tree decorations are hand painted birds – so lovely!

“Young Ava and her mother prepare to become citizen scientists in the annual New England Christmas bird count.”



The bird photos also line up across the snowy bottom.




And the best part of all is reading aloud to your child.
With over thirty trees and their books on display, there were many families and children doing just that – reading aloud- and also discovering parts of every book adorning the trees.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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57 Responses to The Concord Museum and Literacy Trees

  1. beth says:

    I love this, what a magical place, I would love to visit

  2. tidalscribe says:

    Yes looks like a lovely place to visit and museums these days do a lot to make a visit fun for children.

  3. I love the pairing of the tree and the book to celebrate children’s literature. What a great idea! (And the books sound wonderful.)

  4. Opher says:

    I love the idea of a literacy tree Jennie!

  5. Ritu says:

    Oh, how wonderful!!! ❤

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks, Ritu! We have made literacy trees at school, too. Every classroom picks a favorite book and the children make the decorations. We put the trees in the hallway for families to enjoy. Food for thought…

  6. Dan Antion says:

    What a joy-filled place. Thanks for sharing, Jennie.

  7. beetleypete says:

    Such a wonderful idea, and the rest of the museum looks very interesting too. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. Fantastic concept. Thanks for sharing this with us, Jennie!

  9. That was fun. I had no idea that existed.

  10. “Yes” to reading aloud to children. If only more people understood how very important this is!

  11. teacherturnedmommyblog says:

    I love this idea and the fact that they not only have the book but encourage you to read it to see the meaning behind the tree. I wish more places would do something on this idea!

  12. petespringerauthor says:

    This one is brand new to me, Jennie. I’m planning a trip out to the east coast in 2021 to see one of my brothers in New Jersey. I’m going to try to hit this on my travels.

    • Jennie says:

      That would be awesome, Pete! You won’t be disappointed. New Jersey is 3 to 4 hours away. I would love, love to join you at the museum. The event runs from Thanksgiving through New Years every year.

      • petespringerauthor says:

        I will seriously keep that in mind; it would be an honor to meet you. I love everything that you do for children.

      • Jennie says:

        The feeling is mutual, all the way around. Fingers crossed.🤞 Thank you, Pete

      • Jennie says:

        OMG, Concord is thirty minutes from Groton. You can be a special guest in my classroom and read aloud a book. Better yet, we can read aloud together… okay I’m already mentally planning you in my classroom sometime over the holidays. I have so many ideas. 🙂

  13. AJ says:

    What an awesome idea and display

  14. What a great idea, Jennie. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Love, love,, love it… Must share! May schools, museums and libraries around the globe get inspired and join the Concord Museum’s magical literacy tree tradition! ❤

  16. Darlene says:

    What a fantastic idea! Something the whole family can enjoy.

  17. quiall says:

    I love that! A little airy tree. Let’s try that again. A literary tree. What a wonderful thing to have to grow.

  18. Oh Jennie! You take us to the best places! I love this idea in a museum and for children to boot. What will they think of next? Thank you so much.

  19. Wow, what a simply marvelous idea, Jennie. I just love it and must seek to emulate it.

  20. Norah says:

    Wow, Jennie. This looks fabulous. I would love it!

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