Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Foreve

The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Foreve

H. Joseph Hopkins
Illustrator:  Jill McElmurry 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2013   ISBN: 978-1442414020

Katherine Sessions was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful woods of Northern California. Even though little girls like her were not supposed to go outside and get dirty, Kate did. She loved to explore the woods.

   At school Kate was a good student. She learned all the things that girls living in the mid 1800’s were supposed to learn, and she also learned about the “wind and rain, muscles and bones, plants and trees.” She did not care the girls were not supposed to study science. She did it anyway. She particularly wanted to learn about trees, and when she grew up she went to college where she got a degree in science. She then moved to San Diego in Southern California where she got a job as a teacher. Unlike Kate’s green childhood home, San Diego was brown and desert-like. There were very few of the trees that she loved so much.

  Kate was convinced that trees could grow in San Diego and she was determined to plant some. She became a gardener and set about finding tree species that could thrive in the hot, dry climate. She wrote to tree specialists all over the world and “asked them to send her seeds that could grow in a desert.”

   Soon all of Kate’s work began to pay off. Trees were growing all over San Diego, but there were still people who did not think that “a desert town could sustain so many trees.” Kate was convinced it could. In fact she was convinced that San Diego could sustain many more trees and she set about making her dream a reality.

   In this wonderful picture book the author tells the true story of Katherine Sessions using a simple yet poignant text that is paired with lovely illustrations.

   At the back of the book an author’s note provides readers with further information about Kate Sessions and her life’s work.