This autumn has been gorgeous. The trees are brilliant in a variety of colors. They make me look up. They make me stop to really look.
Summer was dry, so it is surprising that our autumn is especially colorful. I like to think that Mother Nature is giving us an art show during this pandemic year, to remind us that nature and trees are a beautiful thing, and to tell us to look.
Back to trees.
Trees represent the circle of life in ways that we can understand- children, too. They are the visual to life and death, growing, survival, thriving, and new birth. Trees are a home for animals. They are a playground and shelter for everyone. The list is a long one. When I use the word ‘grounded’, trees are the benchmark.
Many children’s books have been written about trees. One book that I read aloud every year is The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.
After showing children the front cover, I start the book with the back cover:
I take a minute to let the four pictures sink in. Then I ask questions. Did you know half of the pleasure – and learning – that happens when reading a book to children, is asking questions?
What do you see?
What makes the pictures different?
There’s a name for what they’re called. Do you know what it is?
And so it goes. We spend a long time on the four seasons, the order they happen, and how the tree is different in each one. It sets the stage for the story of the tree over each season. Each season has many pages as to what the tree does. Here are the lead-in pages for each season:
I read this book to children at the start of each season, and we take a “tree walk” to see what we can see. This year’s tree walk was spectacular in beauty. Of course there are many other wonderful books about trees that I read to children. This coming week I will be reading Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Last week we read Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, and Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.
Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.