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The Wisdom of Trees by Lita Judge

Lita Judge crafts a dual informational/poetry books where she images the voice of the trees through poetry and explains the science of tree communities through sidebars. Take a journey with your students through this amazing versatile author’s creative process outlined here in her own voice, identify the author’s craft moves in this truly unique book, and use it to craft informational books that pair poetry and information. What other creature or object might your students lend voice to?

The truth is that sometimes I search for books less in the service of reading and more in the services of writing mentors. This book has been saved and savored in my new book stash for just this moment. All of the classes at all the grades are studying informational reading and writing. What a perfect day to slip in some narrative poetry along with some hard facts. I love Lita Judge as an author, this book is so unique in its presentation that it drew me in and I hope it will draw students as well. Let the students know the author in her meet-the-author page.

the left side of the page is the imagined narration of the tree and the right side described the science. What else could we notice in this mentor text? Here the author offers us an introduction that contains an explanation of the informational text structure. Notice the hook at the end? It begins deep underground…
A cross-section, a comparison, an analogy, Ms. Judge breaks down complex information into understandable parts. How can we do that when we are explaining something new and complex?
Just one more… A close up. Notice the ‘box and bullet’ format of the informational portion of this page. What is the main idea? What are the details? How does the author use those details and main idea to craft the poem on the right side?

This book is a delight especially knowing the travels that Lita Judge took to illustrate this book. Both teacher and students will learn a lot about tree communication in these pages and perhaps a new writing style.

Need a simpler book with a similar format: Try this series: The Disgusting Creature Series by Elise Gravel, which includes The Toad, The Rat, Head Lice, Spiders, The Fly, and others. The animals provide addition commentary to the facts.

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