Did you know that a new aspen tree is not started from a single seed like other trees, but as a root sucker generated from other existing roots beneath the ground? And that, because of this, aspens grow in groves where they are all related (clones) of each other with intertwining generations (grandparents and great grandparents) of roots underground. Fascinating! The things you can learn from a children’s book!!
Aspen’s Roots is a touching new book, written by Paul Sullivan and beautifully illustrated by Pamela Gillette. It tells the story of a young sapling in a grove of aspen trees, growing and discovering her roots as the seasons change around her. I love the connection the author draws between the tree’s roots and the concept of one’s family tree, not with branches which grow upward, but with roots of generations which come before us, supporting us from under the surface.
It was interesting reading the book to my children and the different depths of understanding each one had. My daughter (aged 4) really liked the story of the sapling tree, and felt for it as it endured the different seasons (she was so sad when its leaves fell off!). While my older children were able to grasp the concept of roots beneath the surface of the tree, and the concept that we as humans have similar roots.