A photograph of an open book upon a stack of books resting on a tree stump

If a library is a forest then the books are its trees. In a short interlude from our Pride month celebrations, we wanted to shine a light on the living, breathing champions that making printing books possible. There are over three trillion trees on earth, they are one of the most well know plants on the planet and it bears investigating how humanity has been influenced by them through our evolution. They are the subject of folklore and important to many cultures around the globe, yet we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of their relationship to each other and ourselves. 

Ultimate Library has dug deep into this world to find you the best books on trees and a look ahead as to what publishers have in store later this year.

The cover of the book 'The Heartbeat of Trees' by Peter Wohlleben showing yellow and white text over a background aerial image of a forest.

The Heartbeat of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Renowned forester Peter Wohlleben takes a look at the new research and scientific discoveries that show how connected we are to the natural world. He explores the language of the forest and the consciousness of plants. Looking to erode the gap between flora and fauna, in a world dominated by urban life. This book wants us to embrace our relationship with the environment not just for its sake, but also for ours.

The cover of the book 'A Portrait of The Tree' by Adrian Houston featuring white text over a background image of a trees silhouette at sunrise.

A Portrait of The Tree by Adrian Houston

Starting with the simple question “What is your favourite tree?” a fascinating wealth of stories emerged. Each tree has its own story or is enmeshed in our stories. From trees that have sheltered royalty to those that have witnessed our personal grief, each tree and each story is given focus in this book. Adrian Houston photographed each chosen tree to capture their beauty and their stories. (Available 16/09/2021)

The cover of the book 'Forest School for Grownups: Explore the Wisdom of the Woods' by Richard Irvine. It features yellow text on a forest green background. There are also illustrations of forest creatures and an axe in a chopping block.

Forest School For Grownups: Explore the Wisdom of the  Woods by Richard Irvine

The perfect guidebook to spending more time in the outdoors. Forest Schools were popularised in Scandinavia to help children gain wilderness skills and immerse themselves in the forest. But as adults, we too can benefit from spending more time in nature. It helps us de-stress and relax our brains. This book teaches skills that help us, adults, to play in nature too. (Available 03/03/2022)

The cover of the book 'My Forests' by Janine Burke. It features yellow and purple text over a a background of a photograph of a tree in negative.

My Forests by Janine Burke

Collecting together narratives and tales from around the globe, Janine Burke invites us to explore how trees and civilisation are more connected than we think. Throughout this book, you’ll travel through the ancient Incense Road, visit the dancing Olive groves of Tuscany, and meet tree-sitter Miranda Gibson, whose 449-day protest against clear felling in Tasmania’s Tyenna Valley led to a World Heritage listing. A wonderful exploration of the role of trees in contemporary life.

The cover of the book 'Tree Story: The history of the world Written in Rings' by Valerie Trouet. It features the title text revealing a trees rings on a white background.

Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings by Valerie Trouet

Whilst we all know the rings of a tree can tell you its age, what this book tells us is how they show so much more. Valerie Trouet guides us through different points of history around the globe through the eyes of the trees. In particular, she looks at the changing climate and its influence on human civilisation over the past 2000 years. These fascinating tales are deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on global climate dynamics and reveals the clear links between humans and our leafy neighbours.

The cover of the book 'Baobab' by Beth Moon. It features white text on a background of a black and white photograph of large baobab trees.

Baobab by Beth Moon

Baobab trees are among the natural wonders of the world. They can grow to have trunks 35 feet in diameter and live for thousands of years. Upon hearing that some of the oldest and largest baobab trees were collapsing under their own weight, Beth Moon set out to document what she could and find out what was happening to these ancient giants. This travelogue presents 50 large format duotone images of some of the largest trees still surviving, interspersed with colourful photos documenting her journey. (Available 09/11/2021)

The cover of the book 'The Oak Papers' by James Canton. It features green text on a beige background with on which there are fake oak leaves and acorns.

The Oak Papers by James Canton

James Canton spent two years sitting with and studying the Honywood Oak. A colossus of a tree, it would have been a sapling when the Magna Carta was signed. Initially visiting the tree for escape and solitude, in time he learns to study it more closely. He examines how our long-standing dependency on oak trees has developed and morphed into myth and legend. This is a stunning, meditative and healing book about the lessons we can learn from the natural world, if only we slow down enough to listen.

The cover of the book 'The Arbornaut' by Meg Lowman it features white and yellow text on an illustrated background. The background is an illustration of a bridge leading through the treetops.

The Arbornaut by Meg Lowman

One of the worlds first tree-top scientists, Meg Lowman explores the world hidden away at the top of the trees. Travelling around the world, this book looks at the many different ecosystems that live within the trees. From the redwoods on the Pacific Coast to leaf-eating fauna in the Scottish Highlands, Meg offers hope and recommendations to fight against the impacts of climate change. (Available 05/08/2021)

The cover of the book 'How I Became a Tree' by Sumana Roy. It features white text on a teal blue background around an illustration os a woman. Out of the woman's heart plants are growing.

How I Became a Tree by Sumana Roy

An exquisite meditation on a way of life similar to that of trees. Sumana Roy, already hailed with great acclaim in India, slowly moved through her journey into the lessons we can learn from plant life. Looking into topics such as time, self, and agency, to emulate trees’ spacious, relaxed rhythms, Roy shows how we can be more like trees and embrace our natural selves. Taking lessons from a variety of source she explores trees’ wisdom, their nonviolent way of being, and their ability to cope with loneliness and pain. (Available 26/10/2021)

The cover of the book 'Treasury of Folklore - Woodlands & Forests' it features the title text in a white banner above a line illustration of the little red riding hood fairy tale.

Treasury of Folklore – Woodlands & Forests by Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham

An entertaining read, filled with myths and monsters and all that can be found in the forest. Trees have captured humanities imagination for millennia, as we fill the dark spaces between them with ghouls and ghosts, witches and nymphs. Welcome to the woods, where the big bad wolf awaits you. (Available 05/08/2021)