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USA “Best Book” Awards:
The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men
Feathers for Peacock
Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing
Little Lek Longtail Learns to Sleep
President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House
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Sharing the wisdom and beauty of cultures from around the world
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree:
Exploring Trees Around the World
written & illustrated by:
Durga Yael Bernhard
5 & up / 3–4 /
: 760L Lexile
8" × 11" / 32 pages
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree explores 12 of the most distinctive trees from across the globe, and includes educational notes about each of the trees to help answer questions that curious young minds might have.
Just Like Me is not just a book about facts, but a very “hands-on” multicultural book. Each page puts the young reader up close with a remarkable tree. Yael Bernhard’s playful poem winds through the pages like a vine that wants to be climbed. In the voice of a musing child, with a subtle rhythm and rhyme, the poem imagines what it would be like if I started climbing a tree and found myself in an adventure of discovery. Each climb and each adventure leads to insights into the marvelous world of nature found in every tree, whether in our backyards or on the other side of the planet.
Yael Bernhard is an award-winning author and artist, and her paintings in Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree show not just her familiar style but also her careful research of the subjects, including each and every tree in the book, and also her love of her subject—climbing trees! The book’s dedication even includes a child: “Victoria —who loves to climb trees.” Through the magical pull of her art, Ms. Bernhard draws us up each tree after her (and Victoria, of course!) into the branches, viewing new sights, sounds, tastes, textures, creatures, breezes, vistas, people, and places. The poetry of this book is not just in its words, but in its images as well, and in the sensorial and imaginative experiences it conjures up.
While the poem and illustrations offer an experiential learning experience in themselves, also indirectly encouraging a child to explore trees and nature on her own, the appendix to the book offers more facts about the trees, such as their range, habitats, uses, and interesting points such as: “The kapok tree was sacred to the Mayan people and an important source of healing medicine. They believed a departing soul could ascend to heaven by rising up the trunk of a great mythical kapok tree.” This section may be primarily for adults and older readers, but you will want to share some of this with young children, too!
Here is the opening verse of the text and your personal invitation to join us in our adventure climbing some great, and unusual trees of the world:
What if you
heard a bird
in the branches above,
and your feet
followed a root…
The Book Trailer Video for
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree
Watch the video below to get a visual summary of the pages in the book.
Awards & Honors
Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards
“ Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree is a field guide and global tale about a childhood pastime. Author and illustrator Durga Yael Bernhard makes a strong case for outdoor exploration through charming art . . . . Latin and common names accompany each illustration, allowing children to experience the pleasure of specificity; a glossary features detailed descriptions of the trees. A treat for the beginning naturalist, and a worthy resource for parents and early childhood educators, this slim volume portrays scenes of abundance that inspire curiosity . . . . Caregivers who value unstructured, imaginative play as well as daily outdoor time will appreciate the book’s closing message, in which a tree is likened to a patient friend. This book is especially recommended for Waldorf and Montessori settings, whether in schools or home practices, for the winsome blend of poetry and life science.”
— , from a review by Karen Rigby
There is a song about
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree! It follows the words of the poem with a wonderful melody and musicial accompaniment custom-made for children to join in and sing. The song is by Story Laurie, and can be heard on her website by clicking here.
Laurie McIntosh (aka Story Laurie) is a storyteller, songwriter and singer who writes delightful songs on a variety of subjects, and we are very lucky that she has put Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree into music. This makes Just Like Me a full artistic expression, in poetry, paintings, and music, of Yael Bernhard’s invitation to get close to a tree and its individual universe of experiences.
After reading the book once with your children, class, or group, try going to Story Laurie’s web page, play the catchy , and sing along from the front of the book to the back. It will add to the experience! Just Like Me song
Sample pages with some lines from the poem written by D. Yael Bernhard, along with
her illustration for Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree: Exploring Trees Around the World
Copyright © 2012 World Wisdom, Inc.