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
“When you know that trees
and have memories
and that tree parents
live together with their children,
then you can no longer
just chop them down...”
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!”
“If the trees are at war, then
so am I.”
Fifi (Phoenix) Reising
An A+ overachieving 8th grader who plans to walk her tasseled loafers away from this hick town as fast as humanly possible...until she hears what the trees have to say.
“How can I sit in class while the planet is dying?”
Hope Rainbow Reising
The 16-year-old activist can usually be found at town hall protesting for the climate all by herself...and singing her original song, “The Giving Tree is Gonna Get You.”
“Where there's a will, there's a way!”
Joan Reising (A.K.A.
The Mushroom Mom)
Eternal optimist, wearer of rainbow muumuus, and loud-mouth Mama Bear, she makes Fifi’s desire to “be normal” an impossibility.
those who cannot protect themselves.”
Tree scientist and activist…he dives deep into his research. Perhaps too deep? He's been missing 183 days...until Fifi hears something mysterious in the tree roots.
dirty tree hugger out of my tree!”
Ruining planet Earth one parking lot at a time, The Paving King wants to build an amusement park on Fifi’s land. After they cut down all the trees, it’ll be perfect!
you lookin' at?”
The swaggering son of the Paving King mocks and bullies and wears a “Climate Change is a Hoax” T-shirt to the Earth Day assembly. He’s The Worst of the Worst. Or is he?
“We are only as strong as
The Lightning Tree
An ancient white pine that suffered a lightning strike is under attack...by men with chainsaws. Will she survive the war?
Fangorn (Quercus rubra)
The Mother Tree of the oak grove and Hope’s home away from home is known for giving nasty splinters. But she wouldn’t be a part of the revolution madness. Would she?
“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.”
“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
When the tree revolution comes...
what side will you be on?