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a middle grade novel for ages 9-13

I Speak for the Trees

by julia edwards

If the trees are AT war,

then so am I

Green Forest

“When you know that trees

experience pain

and have memories
and that tree parents

live together with their children,
then you can no longer

just chop them down...”

—Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees

I Speak for the Trees

a magical adventure
about a girl who sits in a tree
to stand up against climate change

13-year-old Phoenix Reising is embarrassed by her name, her hippie mom, and her eco-depressed sister. It doesn’t help that her tree-scientist dad disappeared without a trace nine months ago.

But things get a whole lot weirder when she finally finds him. She can't see him or touch him, but she hears him through the tree roots: The trees are getting angry...

Enter: the Paving King of Pitts, who shows up with a chainsaw and a plan to turn their forest into an amusement park. The lives of every tree—and her father—are on the line. She can't speak for them yet, but she knows one thing for certain: If the trees are at war, then so is she.

“My name is Phoenix Reising. 

I’m thirteen years old

and I live in Pitts, Massachusetts. 

They are trying to cut down

this five-hundred-year-old white pine

so they can build

an amusement park in the forest. 

I’m sitting in the tree

and I’m not getting down

until they stop. 

Please send help!”

Wildfire burns ground in forest.jpg

“I want you to panic.

I want you to feel

the fear I feel every day.

And then I want you to act… 

I want you to act

as if our house is on fire.

Because it is.”

Greta Thunberg, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

“Had I really made those roots move…

with my mind?

How was that even possible?

And why had the Wood Wide Web listened to me?

I felt something powerful coursing through me.

It was the pulse of the planet.


From my fingers to my toes.

And I wondered:

If I could make the roots do what I wanted,

what else could I do?

Could I speak Tree?

Could I…make things grow?”

–Phoenix Reising, Age 13

Chopped Tree Trunk

“I speak for the trees,

for the trees have no tongues.”

—Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

When the tree revolution comes...

what side will you be on?

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