I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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Happy (almost) #BookBirthday ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL + 4 Qs with author Leslie Barnard Booth

March 19, 2024

Today we’re welcoming Leslie Barnard Booth to the blog, in celebration of her upcoming release,


Illus. Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

I LOVE this book, but don’t take my word for it:

“Lively, poetic writing and beautiful illustrations . . . combine for a volume perfect for reading aloud, and not only in science classes. Even the youngest of readers and listeners will grasp the concepts of ecosystems and the continuity of life.

A model of what an excellent STEM-focused picture book can be . . . “

Horn Book STARRED review

“A lyrical evocation of an essential natural cycle.”

Kirkus STARRED review

“Celebrating the interdependence of living things within their ecosystem, this well-crafted picture book reads aloud beautifully.” — Booklist

About the author:

Leslie Barnard Booth writes lyrical picture books about science and nature. Her debut, A Stone Is a Story (Simon & Schuster/McElderry), won a Blueberry Honor award and was named a Kids’ Indie Next pick and an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. Leslie grew up in Washington state among giant trees and rugged mountains, and as a child her pockets were always full of rocks. She has taught at preschool, elementary, and college levels and holds an MFA in creative writing and an MS in education from the University of Oregon. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family.

Let’s ask some Questions!

Q 1. What was the inspiration for ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL? Was it from growing up in the Pacific Northwest? Or similar to A STONE IS A STORY, in that the inspiration was a question from your daughter?

LBB: Growing up in the PNW definitely played a role. The temperate rainforests in this part of the world are a great place to see nurse logs—fallen trees with new trees growing out of them.

My children’s interest in big, mossy logs full of fungi was also part of the inspiration for this book.

In addition, reading Peter Wohlleben’s book The Hidden Life of Trees made me think about the fact that the incredible drama of trees’ lives is often hidden from view simply because trees’ lives take place on a time scale so different from our own.

So I set about writing a book in which we could observe a single tree over 1,000 years. This allows the reader to appreciate the drama of its life and the challenges it faces. At the same time, the book shows that the wounds and decay that accumulate as a tree ages are actually crucial to the functioning of the ecosystem as a whole. 

ED note–> Attention #Writers

Check out the repetition in next two illustration samples:

“This tree’s story might have ended that day.”

Interior art by Stephanie Fizer Coleman from ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL by Leslie Barnard Booth (Margaret K. McElderry Books).


Q 2. In our previous interview you shared that this “informational picture book shows how an old-growth tree’s wounds and decay bring life to the forest ecosystem.” What was your research process like?

LBB: It took a lot of time! I really wanted to capture the different stages of decay the tree goes through and how at each stage, different animals move in. This meant identifying dead-wood dependent species and understanding which species of tree they prefer and at which stage or stages of decay.

In addition to poring over books and journal articles, I interviewed a lot of experts for this book, and they were all incredibly generous with their time and expertise. 


Q 3. What discoveries did you make while researching/writing this story?

LBB: I discovered that as trees accumulate decay they become increasingly complex structures with lots of little cracks and crannies perfect for housing wildlife. They open up a dimension of the landscape that would otherwise be closed. They are the skyscrapers of the forest, capable of housing an incredible number and diversity of species—from animals to plants to fungi. Even brown bears depend on damaged trees. They hibernate inside hollow standing trees or logs and give birth to their cubs there.

Q 4. I love the note on your web site from young Leslie that says your “favorite hobby” was drawing and writing stories. When did this “hobby” become a career in writing children’s books?

LBB: Aww, thank you, Erin! I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write words, I drew a lot of stories. Being an author has truly been a lifelong dream, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s actually happening.

It all started with A Stone Is a Story, my debut picture book, which came out in October, 2023. But I guess it actually started long before that, with my dad reading me poetry every night and my teachers encouraging my writing habit—a habit I’ve never been able to give up.

Thank you, Dad,

and Teachers everywhere who encourage young writers!

Interior art by Stephanie Fizer Coleman from ONE DAY THIS TREE WILL FALL by Leslie Barnard Booth (Margaret K. McElderry Books).

And Happy (almost) Book Birthday



*You can still pre-order a signed copy here.*

To learn more about Leslie Barnard Booth and her books–

Check out her web site:  lesliebarnardbooth.com

And follow her on social media:

TwitterX:  @LBB_books

Instagram:  lesliebarnardbooth.books

Up next on the blog: We’re celebrating with Ashley Belote on the #BookBirthday of

DON’T WASH WINSTON (Feiwel & Friends).

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