What Kind of Tree Are You? Win an ARC of GIANNA Z!

My new middle grade novel, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z, will be released from Walker Books for Young Readers September 1st, three months from today! 

To celebrate, I’m giving away an advance reader copy this week. To enter the drawing, I’m asking you to try out a fun game that Gianna and her best friend Zig play in the book.

Zig invents “The Tree Game” to help Gianna remember the different kinds of trees she’s supposed to be learning about for her monster school leaf collection project.  Here’s a sample from Chapter 3:

Zig points to me.  “You’re a sugar maple because they’re colorful and fluttery.  I’m…”

“You’re that big tall brown tree in front of the school!”  I get it now.

“The oak?” Zig says.  “Why am I an oak?”

“Because you’re not all showy.  But you’re important and…stable.”

Zig taps his chin with his finger. “Okay.”  He nods. “I’m an oak.  But I want to be a red oak.  White oak leaves are all loopy and weird looking.”

And from Chapter 5, when Gianna’s dad is dropping her off at school…

“Hey wait!”  Dad calls.


“You never told me about that tree game.”

“What about it?”

“Did you decide about me?”

“Umm…”  The bell is about to ring, and I haven’t used the leaf guide enough to decide what a Dad-tree would be. I flip through the book until I find a short tree that’s kind of chubby and droopy.  “How about a dwarf mulberry?”  I blow him a kiss.

“Hmph.”  Dad puts the car in gear as I slam the door. Clearly, he was hoping to be a redwood.

So what about you?  If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? 

Is this you??  It’s a Swamp Chestnut Oak outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

If you’re like Gianna and need to do a little research, here’s a great online tree reference site to help you out

Just leave a comment about what kind of tree you’d be and why, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for an advance reader copy of THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.  Please keep all entries appropriate for a middle grade audience!  If you leave an anonymous LJ comment, please make sure I have a way to contact you in case you win.

The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada, and the deadline is 11 p.m. EST on Friday, June 5th.  After that, I’ll draw a random winner and send GIANNA Z your way!  (And I may give away an additional ARC if anyone makes me laugh hard enough to snort tea out my nose. You never know…)  Feel free to share the link or tweet or do whatever you do to spread the word.

Ready… Set… What kind of tree are you?

58 Replies on “What Kind of Tree Are You? Win an ARC of GIANNA Z!

  1. Hey Kate,
    Fun contest idea! Here I go….

    I see myself as an apple tree. I love when kids play and climb all over me. I love that I can give them apples to eat and cook pies with, and I love to surround myself with other fun-loving, positive trees in the orchard.

    That’s my first impulse ‘what kind of tree’ answer at 7:55 am. 🙂


  2. Hey Kate – I’m not going to play b/c I’m almost done reading the ARC. I just wanted to let you know you had me crying on the train. Thanks! (can you read the sarcasm). The book is beautiful!!

  3. Oh! I’m so glad you were able to get one at BEA – I knew they were giving them out when I saw one on Ebay this morning. (Grrr…)

    Thanks for the kind words, Val – and sorry about the tears on the train!

  4. I don’t need an arc, but I will answer anyway. I’d be a purple-leaf plum.

    I’m not particularly tall or imposing, but I am much showier than most of the other trees in the garden. I belong in a garden or park in a city or village, not in the woods. I should not be planted with other trees of my type. I do not tolerate extreme heat or cold. I flourish early in the spring. I droop or weep in rainstorms. My fruit might be sweet or sour, but it is nearly always palatable.

    Even though I can be messy and moths and bees seem to be drawn to me, everyone likes me because I am different and sweet.


  5. I think I’m Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree. I like trying to get people to imagine the magical possibilities of seemingly tiny, overlooked things.


  6. I’d be a redwood. I grew up near the redwood forests and LOVE them, and miss the quiet, peaceful, reflective forests when you’re right inside the middle of one. Cool thing about redwoods: their roots grow close to the surface of the ground and you’d think these humongous trees would fall over, but instead all the trees roots *network* with each other and the roots intertwine with each other and they *hold* themselves up this way. I love that.

  7. I’m a sycamore. I like to grow by the water because I need lots of moisture to feed my creative process. I stand out from the other trees because of my stark white trunk that makes me seem aloof and self-contained, but really I’m just very comfortable in my own space. People think they can get a piece of me by peeling off my bark, but that’s just my outside. What’s inside stays strong and whole, and in high winds and storms I can bend without breaking because I have a true heartwood.

  8. tree

    Ok, after browsing the Arbor Day site for waaaayy too long, I have come to the conclusion that I would have to be a Sugar Maple. I could grow right here in my home state of PA. I would do well in a forest among others like me but would really flourish out on my own. I would have to be a tree that kids (and the young at heart) could climb, but not too easily since I believe there is no greater feeling than facing a challenge and conquering it. I would have to provide lots of shade for relaxing in with a good book. I would also have to have some practical properties like producing sap and providing good nesting areas for birds and squirrels. I am happiest in the Fall and the brilliant yellow-orange leaves of the Sugar Maple would best exemplify that joy. I would also like to continue to bring people happiness after my tree life ends, as a beautiful piece of furniture for example. Thanks, Kate! I had fun researching trees and I am looking forward to meeting Gianna! Jane (MilJane09 at aol dot com)

  9. I’m a Hazel tree. I’m a bit of a nut, and yet I’ve got my own kind of wisdom, too. Hazel holds on to her leaves, flowers and fruit (that is, nuts) all at the same time, and honey, you should see my house. It’s got past, present, and future all jumbled in together. I don’t want to let go of the flowes of the past in order to get the fruit of the moment.

    I’m a dreamer like Hazel, and love the magic I find; but, like her, I also have my practical side. I can give you an ointment to fix your aches and pains, or a potion to make your hair shine.

    “When I Was a Boy” is my favorite Dar Williams song, and I often chose to climb trees and run about the hills rather than play at dolls and tea. Some say I’m boyish and some say I’m a lady. Well, of Hazel, too, the gender game is not easily defined. S/he has both the male catkins and the female flowers. With heart-shaped leaves that have jagged edges, s/he’s loving but a bit defensive, too. I ken the Hazel tree, small enough to hide along the edges, in the shade of the bigger, the stronger, the bolder. Yet s/he doesn’t fool me, or anyone. Some seek her particular, nutty kind of wisdom and she is loyal to her friends.

    Hazel helps me witch for a well and aids my divination with wood for my runes. S/he gives me a wand for my altar and lovely green leaves to rest my eyes.

    And, oh yes… we share the same name.

  10. I’d definitely be an aspen because 1) it’s indiginous to Colorado; 2) its leaves dance on their stems; 3) in the fall, the leaves are like spun gold; 4) each aspen is part of a much larger organism — aspens are the largest organism in the world, in fact.

  11. I am a Butternut tree.
    When I was growing up in Wisconsin, I created and performed this song, over and over:
    “The butternut tree,
    the butternut tree,
    it’s fun to climb
    the butternut tree.
    It has so many branches.”
    (last line sung in warbly, off-tune voice).

    My siblings still tease me about that song.

  12. An Aspen. The leaves make a soft, almost rushing water sound and the flash of white underside of leaves in a breeze makes the tree seem magical. Whenever we go hiking, we have to stop under the Aspens!

    Aspens thrive in groups and I with my family and friends 🙂

  13. I am a paper birch because just like them I am always surrounded by paper… Plus my parents used to have a paper birch in their front yard that had to go when they expanded the house, and how I mourned that tree!

  14. Just knowing what I know of you online, I think an apple tree is right on the money!

  15. Oh, that’s a great one! I was lucky enough to see redwoods at Muir Woods near San Francisco a few years ago and would love to go back some day.

  16. As soon as I saw your name, I knew you’d pick aspen – I always think of those gorgeous Colorado trees you post photos of in fall!

  17. shagbark hickory

    Alas, I am a shagbark hickory — although my bark was smooth when I was young, now that I’m mature, it’s shaggy. I am hardy and can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions.
    While my nuts are edible with an excellent flavor, and popular among those who know them, I bear them too seldom to be grown commercially…
    kinda like my stories, I’m afraid!

  18. Re: shagbark hickory

    So I just have to tell you…when my son was working on his leaf collection this past fall (yes, he was assigned a leaf collection while I was copy editing. Such poetic justice), we hiked all over CREATION through this one state park looking for the shagbark hickory, and there was much rejoicing when we found it. Know that you are still treasured!

  19. I am a weeping willow. There’s something very peaceful about their dangling branches, something mysterious hidden on the other side of the fronds … they’re romantic … they seem to possess and cherish memories as though they were old friends. And they’re a little mischievous, too, in how they tickle the back of your neck as you duck underneath.

    Love this contest idea! =D

  20. I’m a banyan tree

    I put down new roots, getting broader and broader to stabilize myself.
    (Well, I have moved and put out new roots….)Banyan trees grow near water, and I can’t live far from water. Right now, I’m about 15 feet, just the way I like it! Betsy Lynch

  21. I was going to say a weeping willow, at first, because I think they’re so graceful. But then I glanced out my front window and my eyes fell on my little grove of redbud trees. (I don’t know the official name – here in Missouri we call them redbuds.)

    These little trees have grown up voluntarily from seeds that were accidentally planted. They’re native to my chosen state, and though they’re not especially flashy or impressively sized, they’re surprisingly hardy. They grow in the most unlikely soils and adapt to a wide range of conditions. In spring, their branches are covered with tiny violet-purple blooms but they’re too shy to remain showy for long and soon the blossoms are replaced by unassuming seed pods and bright leaves. These are trees that wear their hearts for the world to see, as their leaves are charmingly heart-shaped, but they’re stronger than they look.

    So… I’d have to say I’m a redbud. 🙂

    (And I apologize if this posts twice. My computer hiccuped the first time I tried and it didn’t look like it went through.)

  22. What fun!

    I am a buttonwood: kind of shrubby, loving the sun and water, and not growing well in the north due to the cold. I have a lot of leaves constantly trying alternate directions. I sometimes show a hard & shiny surface, but I am really soft underneath.

  23. What a fun contest. My daughter would love your book … I still remember when I first heard about it on the Blueboards, and it’s hard to believe that it’ll be a real live bound book in just a few months. Congratulations!

    Well, I’d like to be a contorted filbert because I love the twisty branches, but I feel rather like a solid oak. My MIL even gave me a gift of a oak leaf dipped in gold years ago and it’s one of my favorite pieces to wear when I’m not feeling so strong.

    My daughter is a birch with the breeze swishing her leaves.

    Vijaya (from the blueboards)

  24. We saw big-leaf maples on our visit to the Quinault Rainforest last summer – they’re gorgeous trees. As a matter of fact, a huge pressed leaf from one is on my bulletin board in front of me right now – they’re amazing!

  25. Okay, I had to look up contorted filbert, but now I know what you’re talking about and I love those trees! I love your oak/birch characterizations, too – thanks for playing!

  26. I’d be a redwood – because they grow by the ocean and live for hundreds of years or …

    A cherry tree! My mom always told me that a cherry tree will not grow any fruit if (A) it doesn’t have a mate and (B) the hummingbirds don’t visit. I always thought that was oh-so-magical.


  27. Hi Kate–
    I would be a hornbeam, because in spring, their buds emerge in a downy fluff, then grow into these great, big protective leaves that shade everything underneath it. That would be me: the protective one.

    Ginger Johnson

  28. I used to think I was an elm, when I was a kid and every New England town was full of them. Now I am more like a sparkleberry, and undergrowth tree here in N Florida that is covered in bell shaped blossoms in the spring, has bright red leaves in winter, reddish bark and grows like a weed. Or maybe I am a Devils Walkingstick, which is covered in thorns. Sometimes I alternate.

  29. I would be a Japanese Elm tree. Last summer, we began work on a landscaping project in our front yard, and chose this tree for its beauty (this type of tree has gorgeous red leaves). But two months after the tree was planted, our neighborhood was flooded when rains from Hurricane Ike caused the banks of the river behind our home to overflow. For five days, the water — which was waist deep in the street — soaked the land and our homes. I would not have guessed that the little tree we’d planted in our front yard would have survived; I thought it was too fragile to have dealt with that type of stress. But this spring, new leaves began to grow. That little tree is a survivor. I’d like to think that I have that kind of strength within me, too.

  30. What a tough question! I immediately wanted to put down a poplar or a birch…something light and airy and elegant. And then I wanted to be an evergreen…maybe a white pine, friendly, dependable, with sturdy branches that squirrels and woodpeckers and nuthatches would like to visit. Or a gum tree because there’s a song I like to sing called “Gum Tree Canoe.”

    But I can’t ignore my roots. I grew up on a lake in a Wisconsin town called Sugar Camp (named for the maple sugaring), and there are few things I like in the world more than sticky fingers from some sweet treat. I also currently have a gallon of maple syrup in my fridge, a quart in the freezer, and another quart in the cupboard. So if you are what you eat, I’ve certainly *consumed* enough maple syrup to qualify as part Sugar Maple.

  31. I think I would be witch hazel because I blossom just when you think nothing else will. : ) You know those late bloomers!

    I can’t wait to read your book–whenever I get it!

  32. I would like to be a beech tree. Not too deeply rooted, but with intricate and detailed root paterns above ground, good for imaginary games, bark that is smooth and easily written on, leaves that are the bright green of good intentions in spring, give deep shade in summer, and are beautiful in an unflamboyant way in fall.

    Tree I would least like to be: Norway maple. Pestiferous weed tree that is blown over easily.