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Home > Children's Books > Just Like Me Climbing a Tree

cover of Just Like Me

Available Now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree:
Exploring Trees Around the World
written & illustrated by: Durga Yael Bernhard
Subject(s): Age level / Grade level / Lexile:

Juvenile non-fiction

5 & up / 3–4 / Lexile: 760L

Format: Size / page count:


8" × 11" / 32 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now



Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree explores 12 of the most distinctive trees from across the globe, and includes educational notes about each of the trees to help answer questions that curious young minds might have.

Just Like Me is not just a book about facts, but a very “hands-on” multicultural book. Each page puts the young reader up close with a remarkable tree. Yael Bernhard’s playful poem winds through the pages like a vine that wants to be climbed. In the voice of a musing child, with a subtle rhythm and rhyme, the poem imagines what it would be like if I started climbing a tree and found myself in an adventure of discovery. Each climb and each adventure leads to insights into the marvelous world of nature found in every tree, whether in our backyards or on the other side of the planet.

Yael Bernhard is an award-winning author and artist, and her paintings in Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree show not just her familiar style but also her careful research of the subjects, including each and every tree in the book, and also her love of her subject—climbing trees! The book’s dedication even includes a child: “Victoria —who loves to climb trees.” Through the magical pull of her art, Ms. Bernhard draws us up each tree after her (and Victoria, of course!) into the branches, viewing new sights, sounds, tastes, textures, creatures, breezes, vistas, people, and places. The poetry of this book is not just in its words, but in its images as well, and in the sensorial and imaginative experiences it conjures up.

While the poem and illustrations offer an experiential learning experience in themselves, also indirectly encouraging a child to explore trees and nature on her own, the appendix to the book offers more facts about the trees, such as their range, habitats, uses, and interesting points such as: “The kapok tree was sacred to the Mayan people and an important source of healing medicine. They believed a departing soul could ascend to heaven by rising up the trunk of a great mythical kapok tree.” This section may be primarily for adults and older readers, but you will want to share some of this with young children, too!

Here is the opening verse of the text and your personal invitation to join us in our adventure climbing some great, and unusual trees of the world:

What if you
heard a bird
in the branches above,

and your feet
followed a root…

Videos Related to the Book (hide/show)

The Book Trailer Video for
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree

Watch the video below to get a visual summary of the pages in the book.

Awards & Honors
  • Silver Medal in the “Interior Design” category of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards

Reviews (hide/show)

“This title celebrates the wonder and thrill of a childhood pastime and sheds light on trees from all over the world. Rhythmic, poetic lines suggest reasons why children would enjoy climbing a tree, as well as the ways one might do so: for instance, like a monkey, a chameleon, or a leopard. Rendered in watercolor and gouache, each spread depicts a child in a tree indigenous to a particular country and lists the species name and nation of origin; examples include a mango tree in West Africa or a Montezuma cypress in Mexico. A close-up inset on each page examines the seed or fruit of the tree in question and provides its scientific name. Appended is more in-depth information about each species, such as its physical characteristics, the specific benefits it provides, and the significance it holds for the people of its country. The end pages feature a world map indicating where each tree can be found. A note on the final page include a web address that connects readers to a catchy musical rendition of the text. Verdict: A great addition, particularly for those doing lesson plans on trees.”
School Library Journal
Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree is a field guide and global tale about a childhood pastime. Author and illustrator Durga Yael Bernhard makes a strong case for outdoor exploration through charming art. . . . Latin and common names accompany each illustration, allowing children to experience the pleasure of specificity; a glossary features detailed descriptions of the trees. A treat for the beginning naturalist, and a worthy resource for parents and early childhood educators, this slim volume portrays scenes of abundance that inspire curiosity. . . . Caregivers who value unstructured, imaginative play as well as daily outdoor time will appreciate the book’s closing message, in which a tree is likened to a patient friend. This book is especially recommended for Waldorf and Montessori settings, whether in schools or home practices, for the winsome blend of poetry and life science.”
ForeWord Reviews, from a review by Karen Rigby


Leading Links (hide/show)

Pages 8-9 from the book “Just Like Me Climbing a Tree”, by Durga Yael Bernhard

Sample pages with some lines from the poem written by D. Yael Bernhard, along with
her illustration for Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree: Exploring Trees Around the World

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