One Tree by Christopher Cheng and Bruce Whatley

All cities were once places of natural life – green trees, animals homes and freshly turned soil.

But many of these green places are not these places anymore. They are filled with people and buildings and grey.

One Tree by Christopher Cheng and Bruce Whatley explores the concept of loss through the eyes of a small boy who lives in a busy city in Asia.

He watches his grandfather who seems to be slipping away amongst the cityscape devoid of stories and smiles.

Until one day, the small boy finds a little plant growing in the crack on the busy pavement.

The finding of this plant leads to not only lessons on balcony horticulture, it also teaches him how important living things are.

As the plant grows so does his grandfathers joy and lust for life. And as this grows, the bond between grandfather and boy strengthens.

The plant brings life back to his small city apartment in many more ways than you can imagine – you’ll just have to read to find out how!

Bruce Whatley’s illustrations match in perfectly with this story, bringing the feel of the Chinese culture to life – merging the old stories and life of grandpa with the new stories the young boy brings along.

One Tree is a pertinent book for our time. We need to remember the beauty of storytelling. We need to remember the beauty of nature and we need to remember the beauty of community.

So what else can you do with this book?


Explore buildings in your city that have been ‘greened’ Look at how they are designed to bring nature back into the city landscape.

Redesign some aspects of your house and bedroom so it can have some natural life in it.

Explore cities that have had total transformation – how can other cities replicate this?



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