Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Arbor Day Square

by Kathryn O. Galbraith
illustrated by Cyd Moore

Katie and her papa are among a group of settlers building a town in the middle of the dusty, brown prairie. Every week the trains bring more people who build houses, fences, and barns. But one thing is missing: trees.

When the townspeople take up a collection to order trees from back east, Katie adds her own pennies and Papa’s silver dollar. When the tiny saplings finally arrive, Katie helps dig holes and fetch water. Then, in a quiet corner off the public square, Katie and Papa plant a flowering dogwood in memory of Mama.

Although set in the past, Kathryn O. Galbraith’s gentle story of community building, the timelessness of love, and the power of ritual will resonate with young readers today. Cyd Moore’s full-color illustrations reflect the simplicity of the story and life in a new prairie town, while evoking the complexity of its themes.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-517-1
Publication Date: 4/1/2010
Page Count: 32
Size: 8-1/4″ x 11″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $7.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-922-3
Publication Date: 2/1/2016
Page Count: 32
Size: 8-1/2″ x 12″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 3.2
F&P: GRL N, Gr 3, Genre RF
Lexile: AD470L
Themes: Community, Family, Traditions, Trees
BISAC 1: JUV029010 JUVENILE FICTION / Nature & the Natural World / Environment
BISAC 2: JUV013030 JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational
BISAC 3: JUV016140 JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 19th Century


“An attractive introduction to the celebration of Arbor Day.” ―Booklist

“Moore’s gentle pencil and watercolors lend a classic storybook feel to the story” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Galbraith’s poetic text and Moore’s soft watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations recreate those spring days on the prairie when planting trees was a cause for celebration.” ―School Library Journal

Read More

“Young readers not quite ready for the “Little House” series may enjoy this gentle story.” ―Star Tribune

“Moore’s illustrations are soft and wispy, perfect for growing trees and communities.” ―The Sunday Eagle

“A lovely story” ―The Sunday Chronicle

“Warm, inviting illustrations blend with this charming story…” ―“Books to Borrow, Books to Buy”

“In this wonderful picture book, the author and illustrator tell the story of how a small prairie town starts a tree planting tradition. The author and Illustrator beautifully capture the pride that the townsfolk have in their trees, and the pleasure those trees give to people for generations to come.” ―Through the Looking Glass

“The muted, watercolor and colored pencil illustrations have a primitive and homelike quality that nicely complements the text.” ―New Jersey State Library Youth Services

“Pleasant story and engaging illustrations…” ―Rutgers University Project: EconKids

Read Less


Parents’ Choice Approved Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2010

CCBC Choices (Seasons and Celebrations) ―Cooperative Children’s Book Center, 2011

Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2011

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Primary) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2011

Read More

Golden Sower Award (Nominee, Primary) ―Nebraska Library Association, 2013-2014

Prairie Bud Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―SD Library Association, SD Reading Council, SD State Library, SD Elementary School Principals, 2012-2013

Spur Awards (Finalist, Storyteller Award) ―Western Writers of America, 2011

Read Less

You May Also Like

Meet the Author

Kathryn O. Galbraith is an award-winning children’s book author with more than a dozen picture books to her credit. She taught writing for children at the University of Washington. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Cyd Moore has illustrated more than 40 books, including What Do Parents Do? (When You’re Not Home); Arbor Day Square; the popular I Love You, Stinky Face series; and Willow, which was included in Oprah’s Book Club 2010 Kids’ Reading List: 6 to 9 Years. Originally from Georgia, she now lives in Michigan. You can visit her website here.