Nell Plants a Tree

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This stunning, poetic picture book shows how one little girl’s careful tending of a pecan tree creates the living center of a loving, intergenerational Black family.

Before her grandchildren climbed the towering tree,
explored its secret nests,
raced to its sturdy trunk,
read in its cool shade,
or made pies with its pecans . . .
Nell buried a seed.

And just as, with Nell’s love and care, her tree grows and thrives—so do generations of her close-knit family.

Inspired by the pecan trees of her own childhood, Anne Wynter’s lyrical picture book, brought to life with gorgeous illustrations by Daniel Miyares, brims with wonder and love.

  • Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award Winner
  • Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text
  • Golden Kite Nominee for PIcture Book Illustration
  • Kids’ Indie Next pick
  • 2023 Texas Great Read selection
  • 2023 Barnes & Noble Children’s and YA Book Awards Shortlist
  • Kirkus Best Book of 2023
  • 2023 Booklist Editors’ Choice Book
  • NCTE 2024 Notable Book in Poetry
  • ALSC 2024 Notable Book
  • CCBC 2024 Choices Book

Praise for Nell Plants a Tree

“Gorgeous images and text chronicle joyful childhood experiences—a future classic.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Pen and ink, gouache, and collage artwork by Miyares (Big and Small and In-Between) exudes the golden light of autumn, and prose by Wynter shimmers with evocative sense words—it’s almost possible to smell the pie.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In the present, there is a lot of joyous activity around the tree, and the movement is reflected in the buoyant language of Wynter’s text. . . . Miyares’ pen-and-ink, gouache, and collage illustrations pair well with the two story lines, effectively expanding the concept of a family tree being both a physical tree and a representation of loving relationships, or genealogy.”—Booklist, starred review

“Wynter’s text sings with the economy and elegance of a poem, and specificities delight (“a leaf flecked with holes”). Miyares’s illustrations, which capture light especially well, reflect the wonder of family, friends, the outdoors—and the magnificence of a tree that began when “Nell picks up a seed.”—The Horn Book, starred review

“Miyares creates breathtaking paintings that share and further the dance of words . . . the lines are lyrical but tight, not a word out of place . . . A story of a tree, of generations, of mindfulness, and a wonderful way to show how small acts have far-reaching consequences” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Care, growth and abundance for the future — in both tree and family — make this a vital, timely book.”—Toronto Star

“Wynter’s prose is spare, lighting like a little blue bird on the moments that matter, and it combines with Daniel Miyares’ recognizable ink and gouache artwork to skillfully elicit the feel of a lazy summer day . . . Text and image couldn’t be better paired than they are here. The concept underlying Nell Plants a Tree is a tricky one that would be difficult for any writer and illustrator to pull off, yet Wynter and Miyares succeed handily. Generations of readers will be inspired by this sweet story to plant seeds of their own.”—BookPage

“Wynter and Miyares have crafted a beautiful homage to how the labor and vision of previous generations can benefit so many who come after. Miyares’ illustrations capture that ineffable sense of home in the hints of buttery sunlight shining through the curtains, and gouache collage lends each spread a timeless glow that is perfectly suited to Wynter’s text. This would be an excellent read-aloud choice for Arbor Day or Earth Day, as it demonstrates how seemingly small choices can reverberate across time in ways we can scarcely imagine.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books