Tu Bishvat is a Jewish festival that celebrates trees and the start of spring. During this festival we appreciate trees and the environment through planting new trees and eating fruits that grow on them. And of course, we have some books to share that are perfect for this festival.
It’s Tu B’Shevat by Edie Stoltz Zolkower, illustrated by Richard Johnson and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.
Written in rhyme and full of sentiment, this book follows a family planting a tree for Tu B’Shevat and returning to it each year to see how it has grown, use it for shade and enjoy it’s fruit. As the tree grows so does the family as they continue to celebrate and make use of the tree. A wonderful celebration of trees, full of beautiful and warm illustrations.
Buy It’s Tu B’Shevat from Wordery.
The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie, published by Templar Publishing.
Jim Hickory is a hard working lumberjack who realises the effects of his job when he is faced with some small homeless animals from the forest. Jim attempts to rehome them in his beard but when that becomes too crowded he comes up with a better idea, to replant the forest. A beautiful picture book with a really important message about caring for our environment and how important trees are, a perfect book for the festival of Tu Bishvat. You can read our full review of this book here.
Buy The Lumberjack’s Beard from Wordery.
Dear Tree by Doba Rivka Weber, illustrated by Phyllis Saroff and published by Hachai Publishing.
In this book a young boy addresses the trees with his wishes for the year ahead. He asks for all the things that help trees grow as well as the things they provide. He makes a promise to look after and take care of the tree whilst wishing all the trees a happy new year. With beautifully detailed illustrations this is a perfect celebration of the beauty of nature and a great way to teach children about the importance of trees and our responsibilities towards the environment.
Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup and published by Little Tiger Kids.
In this stunning picture book we see how nature changes with the seasons, guides the wildlife and alters the landscape. One tall tree stands proud throughout the year and on every page, it’s resident owl observing everything. With clever cut outs in the images to peek through and bright colourful illustrations this is a truly engaging picture book. We have spent ages looking through each page and seeing how the spider’s web has changed or where the family of birds are. It is a wonderful starting point to open up conversations about nature, the environment and the seasons and with the story centred around a tree it is just right for Tu Bishvat.
Buy Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go from Wordery.
Tu Bishvat Activity: Chocolate Bark
On Tu Bishvat it’s traditional to celebrate trees by eating the foods they provide such as fruits and nuts. We decided to do this by making some chocolate tree bark with fruits and nuts to decorate. I first saw this idea on a wonderful site called Chai & Home so the full recipe can be found following that link along with some further explanation about the different types of fruit we eat at Tu Bishvat.
To make your chocolate bark you will need chocolate and some dried fruits and nuts. We went for a mix of walnuts, apples, dates, raisins and cranberries (I know cranberries don’t grow on trees but they came in the same bag as the raisins so we left them in for a bit of colour). This is a perfect activity to follow on from Chanukah when you might still have lots of gelt (chocolate coins) left over. We used ours to make the bark along with some chocolate orange left over from Christmas (orange is a fruit after all!)
Melt your chocolate until smooth and then pour into a lined shallow baking tray. Spread the chocolate out gently to fill the tray and then add your fruit. This is a great fine motor activity and my two-year-old had a great time sprinkling the fruit over the chocolate, when he wasn’t eating them that is! Leave to set.
Watching the chocolate melt and set against sparked lots of talk and conversations between me and my little one, it’s a really simple and fun STEM activity too.
Once the chocolate has set lift it out of the tray to carefully break or chop into big pieces of bark and enjoy!
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