Great Lessons in Small Packages—Tree Books for Kids

August 30, 2016

Great things do come in small packages! In the case of this blog post, the small packages are children’s books that bring to life the themes of growth and nature. GPO makes available two colorfully-illustrated, nature-based publications from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are ideal for parents and educators, too!

The Little Acorn

001-001-00687-4We usually think of acorns as the staple snack of squirrels. And that they are. In the case of this delightful storybook from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, an acorn can also represent the magic of growing up.

The Little Acorn is written from the perspective of a foraging squirrel who buries an acorn near a stream. As it occasionally checks back on the oak nut, the squirrel bears witness to the tree’s growth amid seasonal and ecological changes. Spring rains, summer heat, and autumn winds condition the baby oak. Its thirsty roots stretch out and it learns that all living things need water to grow.

What starts as a tiny seed encased in a tough shell eventually transforms into a “big, beautiful oak tree…dropping little acorns of its own.”

Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?

001-000-04759-1Sometimes it is necessary to cut trees. Trees have lifecycles—they sprout, mature, grow old, die—and their seeds can be planted to grow new trees. For a renewable resource like trees to healthily propagate, diseased or hazardous trees must be cut down and removed. What sounds like severe measures is actually a good thing for the environment.

This U.S. Forest Service publication teaches kids that “people need to cut some trees down, but that is not the end of the story.” It explores various uses for wood from cut trees—such as materials for construction, nutrients for fresh soil, and stumps for new shoots. The book also includes a note to adults about the basics of tree care.

Cutting down a tree is a form of caring for that tree. It makes room for more life in the exchange of another. Eighteenth century botanist Carl Linnaeus said it best when he wrote “if a tree dies, plant another in its place.”


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

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