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Children's Nonfiction Trees & Forests

Branching Out

How Trees Are Part of Our World

by (author) Joan Marie Galat

drawings by Wendy Ding

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
Trees & Forests, Customs, Traditions, Anthropology, Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


Trees have been around for nearly 400 million years, and today about 25,000 species of trees have been identified. We've relied on trees for everything from fuel, food, and medicine to building railways. Today, trees still touch our lives in countless ways. But what do we really know about them?
Branching Out takes an in-depth look at these incredible plants, introducing the basics of tree biology and profiling 11 different trees from around the world, including familiar ones such as the red maple as well as lesser-known trees, like the tall-stilted mangrove. It showcases the inextricable ways trees are part of our society, culture, and economy. It also outlines how animals need trees – and sometimes even help trees survive through symbiosis. Full of useful facts and rounded out with a section on conservation, Branching Out is an essential primer that will leave young readers wanting to treat trees as well as they have treated us.

About the authors

Joan Marie Galat
lives in the Alberta countryside near Edmonton, where she can often be found gazing upwards. She shares her love of the sky in the Dot to Dot in the Sky series, which offers both science and stories from ancient cultures about our environment and the night sky.

Joan's writing career began with a weekly newspaper column when she was 12 years old. Now an award-winning and best-selling author, she has written more than a dozen books for both children and adults. She provides freelance writing and editing through her communications business, MoonDot Media, and is a frequent presenter at schools and libraries.

While Alberta's long winter nights and big prairie sky are ideal for stargazing, Joan also enjoys other pastimes such as reading, camping, kayaking, spending time outdoors, and even stiltwalking. She likes to travel and picnic, which led to her book Day Trips from Edmonton.

Joan Marie Galat's profile page

WENDY DING is an illustrator based in Toronto, Canada. Her specialty is digital illustration in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. She currently works full time as an apparel graphic designer and is available for freelance work weeknights and weekends. Wendy holds a BAA: Illustration degree from Sheridan Institute. Born in China in 1984, Wendy was no stranger to whimsical cartoons, stickers, and endless picture books growing up. A brief stay in the UK just before her teens introduced her to Barbie and the western world. Her inspiration comes from fashion, music, pin-up girls, and food. 80s and late 90s pop music will always have a special place in her heart. Some of her idols are Josephine Baker, Cyd Charisse, and Michael Jackson.

Wendy Ding's profile page


  • Exporting Alberta Award (honorable mention)
  • A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book for Kids and Teens (starred selection)
  • Santa Monica Public Library Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
  • A Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book for Kids and Teens (starred selection)
  • An Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California Distinguished Book

Editorial Reviews

"An informed and elegant introduction to trees as resources for humans and animals, objects of natural beauty, and sources of inspiration."

Publishers Weekly

"...more than an encyclopedia of tree variety... Branching Out may inspire the next generation of conservationists as they begin to construct home and schoolyard habitats."

Canadian Teacher Magazine

"A beautiful and informative book that will find a welcome home on classroom shelves."

Quill & Quire

" excellent job of placing trees within their larger context and demonstrating just how important they are to humans, animals, and the planet. This is a perfect book to dip into for a science project or to awaken a child's interest in the natural world."

National Reading Campaign

"Full of useful information and eye-catching images ... A solid overview."

School Library Journal

"Trees matter in our world. ...An informative introduction for middle-grade readers, especially useful in schools."

Kirkus Reviews

"...this well-designed book offers solid information appropriate for both school reports and real-world investigations."


"Young botanists will enjoy this homage to trees and casual readers will be inspired to look more carefully at these ubiquitous but essential plants."

Library Media Connection

"A beautiful, well-organized book about trees from around the world... an easy-to-use information book."

Resource Links

"Joan Marie Galat has wisely chosen examples of how humans use trees that will appeal to youth while still conveying the importance of each tree to the local ecosystem. Young readers who enjoy nonfiction and have an interest in environmental issues will enjoy this book."

Canadian Review of Materials

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