Illustrated by Jason Chin

“Coast redwoods need a lot of water to grow as tall as they do, and the area in Northern California where they live is perfect – it’s a rain forest.”

A young boy picks up a book about redwoods at a New York subway station and eagerly delves into its pages. He hops on the train and upon disembarking suddenly finds himself right in the middle of a redwood forest. As he explores the area, he begins to learn all about the lives of the redwood trees and the ecosystem in which they reside. Scaling to the very top of a tree, he gains a vast overview of the forest landscape and the creatures that live within. The adventure concludes as the boy finds himself back in the city, where he leaves the redwoods book behind for another child to discover.

Redwoods captures the wonderous grandeur of redwood forests while providing readers with factual information about the trees and their complex environment. Through its framing technique of a book-within-a-book, the narrative demonstrates how environmental literature can help children bridge the gap between local surroundings and distant landscapes. The book’s comparisons between skyscrapers and redwood trees can be useful to make connections between urban environments, where access to nature may be limited, and the wonders of the natural world. In particular, the book emphasizes the impressive resilience of the redwood trees, highlighting the many features that allow them to reach towering heights and survive for thousands of years. For example, their thick bark enables them to withstand intense wildfires, and their ability to collect and reuse rainwater allows them to survive through long-lasting droughts. They also have the ability of resprouting, where new mini tree trunks sprout out of from various sections of a damaged tree.

However, despite their remarkably high resilience to natural disasters, redwood forests still face a significant threat from human activities. Chin brings up the threat that the logging industry poses to redwood forests: “Since large-scale logging began around 1850, more than 95 percent of the original redwoods have been destroyed.” Because the trees serve as habitats for numerous different species, the loss of redwoods will put many other plant and animal lives at risk as well. This segment of the book offers a good entry point for raising awareness not only about human-caused threats to the environment but also about the various conservation programs that aim to mitigate those challenges. The Save the Redwoods League and the Redwood National and State Parks are both reputable organizations that aim to support the preservation of redwood forests while also offering opportunities for people to learn about and experience their majestic beauty.

©2024 ClimateLit (Alexandra Delacruz)

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Publisher: Flash Point, 2009

Pages: 40

ISBN: 978-1596434301

Audience: Little People (4-7), Questers (8-13)

Format: Nonfiction, Picturebooks

Topics: Conservation, Conservation Programs, Deforestation, Drought, Ecosystems, Forests, Habitat Preservation, Habitats, Logging, Nature's Resilience, Redwood Forests, Regrowth, Urban Environments, Wildfires