Peter Wohlleben, the New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Inner Life of Animals, launches his second middle grade book in Spring 2021. Do You Know Where the Animals Live? is the follow-up to Can You Hear the Trees Talking?, and is partly inspired by the famous forester’s long-time work leading children on educational tours of the natural world at his forest academy in Germany’s Eifel Mountains.
You’re a forester and the author of The Hidden Life of Trees and its young readers’ edition, Can You Hear the Trees Talking?. After writing about trees, what led you to turn to writing about animals?
My first love was actually animals instead of trees. I hatched a chick on a heating pad to see if it would consider me as its mother (which it did!). With the children's book about animals, I am fulfilling an old wish.
At your forest school, children learn all about animals alongside trees. What’s your favorite thing to teach them about the creatures they share a world with?
I love to tell them about the language of animals. For example, ravens have names among themselves. They recognize friends by these special calls, even if they have not seen them for years. Good friends are greeted in high pitch, other ravens, which they do not like so much, are greeted in low pitch. Exactly how humans do it too!
What’s one way young children can help make the world a better place for animals?
The best thing is to be curious. The more we know about animals, the more we learn to treat them with respect. Every animal is a great wonder that deserves to be allowed to live their life.