Peter Wohlleben, bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees, launches his debut middle-grade book this fall: Can You Hear the Trees Talking? takes inspiration from Peter’s longtime work leading children on educational tours in Germany’s Eifel Mountains. Read on for an interview with Peter on the story behind his new book:
Q: How did you come to write a book for children?
For twenty years, I have been guiding not only adults, but above all children through my forest. So, it was time to write a book for the younger ones. I hope this journey to the trees will be a pleasure for the whole family.
Q: How did you first get involved in leading children on forest tours?
A: I started with my own children in 1997. Back then I took part in a program at the Grand Canyon with them. It was a two-day Junior Ranger training program. My children, then 3 and 5 years old, were so enthusiastic I thought I should offer something similar in my forest, so I began a Junior Forester program with my local elementary school.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching children?
A: Children are curious and open to new ideas. They give candid feedback, so I always know if I’m doing a good job.
Q: What sorts of activities do you lead them in? What do you teach them about trees?
A: It’s not important to me that children learn to identify different species of trees. In my program, they learn that trees also have families, that they care for their children, and that they can even communicate. Most importantly, I teach them that the forest belongs to them, too, and they can get involved if there’s something they are not happy about.