Below is a selection of books, chosen as recommended reads by Ambler Arboretum staff members and friends of the Arboretum.

In this list, you will find stories that will welcome folks of all ages to read! Part of our mission at the Ambler Arboretum is to provide educational resources about horticulture and the environment to everyone. We hope you find each story below as enjoyable as we do. Happy reading!

Applegate, Katherine, Wishtree, Feiwel & Friends, 2017 (ages 8-12)

The story of a compassionate oak tree named Red who helps a neighborhood overcome prejudice and celebrate diversity through the power of wishes.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden, Children’s Classics, 1998 (ages 8+)

The story of a young girl who discovers a neglected garden, leading to personal growth and friendship.

Looking to read this story to your little ones? We recommend the adaptation by Calista Brill, which is a part of Longwood Garden’s Community Read this year! This version is perfect for young readers ages 4 to 8.

Join the Ambler Arboretum for a fun evening in which we will be showing the 1993 film adaptation of The Secret Garden in partnership with the Ambler Theater on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. Ambler Arboretum Director Kathy Salisbury will additionally share some of the magic and surprises you can find in the gardens around you! Learn more here.

Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1962 (ages 14+)

A compelling exploration of environmental issues, highlighting the importance of ecological balance and inspiring critical thinking about human impact on the planet.

Fleischman, Paul, Seedfolks, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 1997 (ages 13-17)

A wonderful story about a vacant lot in an urban neighborhood that becomes the vehicle for community understanding, as people turn it into a garden.

Gonzalez, Maya, Call Me Tree / Llámame árbol, Children’s Book Press, 2014 (ages 6-10)

A beautifully illustrated children's book celebrating self-discovery and individuality as a child imagines themselves as a tree, embracing the freedom to grow and be whoever they want to be.

Kelly, Julia, The Last Garden in England, Simon and Shuster, 2021 (ages 14+)

A tale of five women connected across time by one very special garden, which involves not only the plants, but the buried secrets that change their lives.

Lamba, Marie and Baldev, Green Green: A Community Gardening Story, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2017 (ages 2-7)

Green grass is wide and fresh and clean for a family to play in, and brown dirt is perfect for digging a garden. But when gray buildings start to rise up and a whole city builds, can there be any room for green space? The neighborhood children think so, and they inspire the community to join together and build a garden for everyone to share in the middle of the city.

Lowman, Margaret, Life in the Treetops, Yale University Press, 1999 (ages 14+)

Life in the Treetops describes the mysteries of the tops of trees and how a woman biologist climbed, worked and lived among the trees.

Mangal, Mélina, Jayden’s Impossible Garden, Free Spirit, 2021 (ages 4-9)

A determined young boy transforms a neglected city lot into a vibrant garden, teaching the community about the power of perseverance and environmental stewardship.

McCloskey, Robert, Blueberries for Sal, Penguin Young Readers Group, 1976 (ages 3-7)

A sweet children's story about a little girl named Sal and a bear cub named Little Bear who accidentally swap places while picking blueberries with their mothers.

Pollan, Michael, The Botany of Desire, Random House, 2001 (ages 14+)

The Botany of Desire tells the story of four plants that have changed human history and satisfied our desires and helped these species too.

Powers, Richard, The Overstory, W.W. Norton and Company, 2018 (ages 14+)

The Overstory is about the magnificence of trees and the people who fight for the environment in the face of political, economic and personal conflicts.

Ward, Helen, The Tin Forest, Dutton Juvenile, 2006 (ages 3-5)

A touching tale of imagination and transformation as an old man creates a lush, vibrant forest out of discarded metal scraps, inspiring hope and renewal in a desolate landscape.

Wohlleben, Peter, The Hidden Life of Trees, Greystone Books, Ltd., 2015 (ages 12-17)

The Hidden Life of Trees describes how trees are not inanimate objects, but they communicate with each other, protect each other and live as a community!