ISA offers a variety of educational materials and products to help arborists improve their arboricultural knowledge and experience. Every month we will feature a product or group of products. This month ISA is featuring The Great Spruce by John Duvall and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon.
Books are some of the best Christmas gifts a child can receive, and if you're looking for a great story to read with your children, look no further.
The Great Spruce is a children's book about a child named Alec who loves to climb trees. His favorite is a large and majestic spruce with a sturdy trunk and branches stretching up to the sky. Alec's grandfather planted it years before Alec was born, and every Christmas, Alec and his grandfather decorate the tree, weaving tinsel and lights through its branches.
But one winter, a few curious men from the nearby city notice Alec's towering great spruce and ask to take it away to be part of the city's Christmas celebration. Though it's a huge honor, Alec is heartbroken at the idea of losing his friend. With quick, creative thinking, Alec comes up with a plan to save his favorite tree in this heartwarming holiday tale.
"The story is about connections," said Duvall. "The Grandfather strongly connects with the tree he rescued from the shady forest. Alec has a younger connection with the same tree, which he loves to spend time in and climb. As we learn, more and more, how we're all connected to nature, the more respect we have for it."
The Great Spruce is a holiday adventure parents can enjoy curled up with their children while drinking hot cocoa. The beautiful illustrations and sweet story will leave you and your children full of the holiday spirit.
"I believe this is a good story for children because it dignifies the spirit and love people have for trees," Duvall said. "I hope the message is that there can be new ways to see things. As we understand more how dependent all life on earth is upon trees, attitudes change. The story is simple and easy for children to understand. As an ISA Certified Arborist®, I wanted everything in the book about moving a tree to be possible."
Having grown up with cut trees, Duvall said he always wondered why they couldn't be live trees. Early in his arboriculture career, he learned arborists could move large live trees, and in the fall of 2009, he wrote an op-ed published in the New York Times. Writing the op-ed later inspired him to put his thoughts into a children's book.
"I think I wrote this because I wanted to share my decades of tree care experience with a young, wide audience," he said. "It's amazing what potential and possibilities children hold if they have good information. I hope the readers find inspiration in the story."
Duvall went on to say that he decided to write this story for children because they are great learners, and he hopes that his primary message in the story—that we need to understand, value, and respect trees—will come across in the book.
"We can keep our holiday traditions and treasure our trees at the same time," he said.
Purchase The Great Spruce today!