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Harris Center Reads: Plants

May 5, 2020   |   Susie Spikol

Let It Bloom…

We’re excited to introduce Harris Center Reads — a monthly, curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! In May, the month of all things green and growing, we offer our suggestions for books about trees, wildflowers, and other plants. May they brighten your spring days and inspire you to see the world around you in new and different ways.

For Adults

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is a staff pick by Lisa Murray, who describes Kimmerer as “having a poetic way of writing that braids together her love of nature, Native American wisdom, history, and environmental issues.”

The Overstory by Richard Powers. This 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner is an innovative work of fiction that connects the distinct stories of its diverse characters to the stories of trees. Author Ann Patchett calls this fascinating read “the best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period.”

The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell. One of Jeremy Wilson’s favorite nature books, The Forest Unseen unpacks the amazing ecology of a single square meter of old-growth forest in Tennessee. In visiting this one small patch of forest daily over the course of an entire year, Haskell not only conveys a deep sense of place, but also illustrates how every place can be a lens to the greater world beyond.

Picture Books for Kids

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long. This book is a beautifully illustrated and poetic look at the different types of seeds in our world. Filled with descriptive language and detailed drawings, it draws readers of all ages into the fascinating life of seeds.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. This award-winning book tells the inspiring story of Miss Alice Rumphius, who wants to make the world better one lupine at a time. This sweet tale reminds us that every person can make a difference in this world.

The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Patrick Anthony and Cris Arbo. The simple text and evocative illustrations in this Harris Center staff favorite bring the dandelion life cycle to life, and show us that even something as common as a dandelion is worth our careful attention. You can see teacher-naturalist Jaime Hutchinson read this book during Storytime with Jaime on the Harris Center’s YouTube channel.

For Middle School Readers

Zoe in Wonderland by Brenda Woods. This chapter book is perfect for any middle schooler looking for adventure, humor, spunk, and a whole lot of plants! Zoe lives at her family’s business, an exotic plant nursery, and life is pretty normal until a strange character comes searching for an unusual and mysterious plant…

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! Although their doors are closed during the stay-at-home order, they are offering curbside pickup and free shipping via Media Mail.

BORROW. In addition, though local libraries are not able to lend hard copies of books during the stay-at-home order, they are offering a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.