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Book review: The Tree Lady
July 17, 2023

Reviewed by Eleanor Emlen Healthy Roar fifth graders

The Tree Lady
Written by H. Joseph Hopkins
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

The Tree Lady is the story of Katherine Olivia Sessions. She was born in 1857. In her early life, Katherine Sessions always felt a connection to trees and admired their beauty

and function. During a time when higher education for women was not common, Katherine Sessions went to the University of California to earn a degree in science.

Katherine Sessions is known for turning a part of San Diego that was once a dry, open desert into a beautiful, green, flourishing park. It is now known as Balboa Park.

We enjoyed the book because it taught us about how to take risks and to keep working through things, even if no one else believes that it can happen.

Many of the students also commented on how the book taught them that if you research different types of trees and educate yourself, you can change a landscape successfully. Through her time and research, she was able to find the right trees to plant that still thrive in San Diego today.

The illustrator took a lot of time to show the different stages of Katherine’s life. The desert appeared in neutral and dull colors while the forest illustrations were green and vibrant.

We recommend the book to grade- school students. The illustrations are exciting and engaging.

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