2022 Longwood Gardens Community Read

Listening to Trees

Longwood Gardens joins local libraries and community partners for the ninth year of the Longwood Gardens’ Community Read – a program designed to encourage reading for pleasure and start a conversation.

In 2022, we’re encouraging our Community Readers to explore the concept of trees as nature’s great connectors.

The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors By David George Haskell

The Songs of Trees

In The Song of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors, the author repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world to stop, listen, and look, exploring each tree's connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals, and other plants, and demonstrating how the lives of trees and people are deeply interwoven. Several trees, including a balsam fir in Ontario and an Amazonian ceibo, are located in areas that seem mostly natural, but which are affected by industrial development and climate change. Haskell also turns to trees in places where humans seem to have subdued "nature"--A pear tree on a Manhattan sidewalk, an olive tree in Jerusalem -- demonstrating that wildness permeates every location.

We Planted a Tree By Diane Muldrow Illustrated by Bob Staake

We Planted a Tree

We planted a tree and it grew up,

While it reached for the sky and the sun. . . .

In this simple poem illustrated by award winner Bob Staake, two young families in two very different parts of the world plant a tree. As the trees flourish, so do the families . . . while trees all over the world help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade.

With a nod to Kenya’s successful Green Belt Movement, Diane Muldrow’s elegant text celebrates the life and hope that every tree—from Paris to Brooklyn to Tokyo—brings to our planet. Perfect for young readers!

Canopy Career Chronicles : real life stories of people finding a passion for tree science By the team at the Morton Arboretum (Illinois)

Canopy Career Chronicles

This engaging graphic novel follows the stories of eight people pursuing careers caring for and protecting trees. Each character's journey takes a different path, highlighting the skills, experiences, and inspirations of this diverse field of professionals.


Read and discuss these books with your friends and family, attend a library program, or sign up for an online program with Longwood Gardens this April using the links below!


Our award-winning Community Read brings books and people together to spur discussion about an important idea or topic. For the ninth year of our Community Read, we’re asking readers: What would a tree tell us if we just took the time to listen?

Trees Living Apart from Humans
Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 pm

In Part 1 of his book The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors, David Haskell explores the network of life and believes that trees are a central part of those connections. Haskell will be joined by ethnobotanist Chief Dennis Coker of the Lenape Tribe of Delaware for a conversation about the interconnections of trees and humans, and how those ideas relate to our region.


Trees Living in Cities
Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 pm

Trees are an important component of urban landscapes as David Haskell describes in Part 3 of his book, The Songs of Tree: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors. They shade our sidewalks, feed us, and are vehicles of creative beauty. Amidst the hustle of our human lives these trees frequently go unnoticed, but the connection is indeed profound. Join Haskell, Georgia Silvera Seamans of the Washington Square Park Eco Projects, and Jessica Turner-Skoff of The Morton Arboretum as they discuss how trees in bustling cities use their embodied network to contribute to the life of humans.


Longwood Gardens - Community Read - Read. Think. Engage.

Page Updated

February 09, 2022