Archive for February, 2012

Happy Birthday, Trees! Tu B’Shevat 5772

The holiday of Tu B’Shevat – the New Year of the Trees – began this evening.  Tomorrow many people will be out celebrating by planting trees, cleaning up parks and doing other tasks to celebrate the earth and its resources. I did not want to overlook this special holiday in the middle of all my work exploring other Jewish values this year.

Here is my list of Tu B’Shevat Books for 2012:

Green Bible Stories for Children by Tami Lehman-Wilzig. Illustrated by Durga Yael Bernahard. ©2011. Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 8-11. In this extraordinary book, several Torah stories are looked at for their view toward protecting the environment. The story is retold in age appropriate language and then a series of activities is provided to link the story to the world today.

Dear Tree by Doba Rivka Weber. Illustrated by Phyllis Saroff. ©2010. Hachai Publishing. In this endearing story, a young boy writes a New Year’s (Tu B’Shevat)  letter to his tree wishing it all good things for the year to come. The lovely illustrations show, in detail, exactly what the boy hopes the tree receives – sunlight, rain, birds, bees, strength, etc. The boy promises to take good care of his tree and knows, in return, the tree will provide fruit and shade.  As appropriate for Earth Day as for Tu B’Shevat.  (Ages 3-8)

Gabby & Grandma Go Green written and illustrated by Monica Wellington. ©2011. Beginning with sewing the bags they will use to go shopping, Gabby and her grandmother shop at the Farmer’s Market, walk to the park, recycle their plastic bottles and newspapers and check out Earth Day books at the library. Instructions for making cloth bags and many “Green Tips” accompany the simple text. The brightly colored pictures are a collage of cut-out photographs and gouache on paper artwork.  (Ages 3-7)

A Grand Old Tree written and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma. ©2005. Arthur A. Levine Books. The life cycle of trees is explained in this marvelously simple yet eloquent book. The bright, colorful tissue paper collage illustrations show a tree filled with life, branching out, creating new trees and finally aging until it’s branches wither back into the earth where it gives life to another generation of trees. (ages 3-7)

Who Will Plant a Tree? By Jerry Pallotta. Illustrated by Tom Leonard. ©2010. Sleeping Bear Press. An amazing fact of nature is the different ways seeds have found to disperse themselves. Some seeds have developed burrs to stick to the fur coats of black bears, others have tough coverings to withstand being coughed up by an owl or pooped out by an elephant, and even others have developed parachutes to float in the wind. Whatever it is seeds find their way around the environment in a variety of interesting and wily ways. Using simple language and extraordinarily beautiful illustrations, this book for young readers makes it clear that from horses to humans, we all have a role in planting trees around the world. (Ages 4-8)

As you find ways to celebrate the trees around you during this Tu B’Shevat remember these beautiful words from Rabbi Shneour Zalman (1745-1813):

“All that we see — The heaven, the earth, and all that fills it — All these things are the external garments of God.”

As such, they should be respected and protected.  May you have a wonderful holiday.

Happy reading.

Kathy B.

©2012 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by the publisher, my local public library or are from my own collection.
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