Summer of the Tree Army

A Civilian Conservation Corps Story

When young Charlie Brightelot first spies the mysterious barracks in the woods near his home, he's not sure what to think. His father explains that the barracks will soon house young men serving in the Civilian Conservation Corps. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the work relief program to help employ millions of young men during the Great Depression. Not everyone is happy to see these young men and Charlie's father questions their value. But when a fire threatens the forest, Roosevelt's "Tree Army" springs into action.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$17.99 $17.99
$29.99 $29.99
Interest Level Grade 1 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 2
Dewey E
Lexile AD620L
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level O
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585363858), PDF (9781534178946), Hosted ebook (9781534179097)
Copyright 2021
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations

Midwest Book Reviews - Summer of the Tree Army

“[This title] offers a particularly vibrant artistic embellishment of this history of the start and evolution of the Civilian Conservation Corps … This adds to the Tales of Young Americans series and covers the evolution of a social program, yet employs the drama of a fictional piece and the bright compelling illustrations of an exceptional artist to bring the discussion to life for young readers ages 6-9.”

The San Francisco Book Review - Summer of the Tree Army: A Civilian Conservation Corps Story

“Gloria Whelan has written an interesting text that will give youngsters a good introduction to the CCC and all the wonderful work they did. Back matter supports the story. Kirby Fagan has filled the pages with lush illustrations in saturated woodsy colors with lots of excellent details to help youngsters connect to the story and stay engaged. This is a lovely book.”

Publishers Weekly - Summer of the Tree Army: A Civilian Conservation Corps Story

A nostalgic storybook feel permeates this meandering historical narrative, which follows white Charlie Brightelot, nine, of northern Michigan, and his summer encounters with the Civilian Conservation Corps, who move into nearby woodland barracks during the Great Depression. Charlie’s bespectacled, sandy blond father doubts the usefulness of President Roosevelt “shipping fellows with no jobs up here from the city.” But after Charlie befriends a white, high school–age CCC member named Luke, the men prove their mettle when a forest fire endangers the woods. Fagan firmly grounds readers in the 1930s, with stylized digital art evoking painted advertisements from the time period. National Book Award winner Whelan utilizes dense prose paragraphs and substantial dialogue, which may put off some readers, but those interested in history will appreciate this gentle, richly contextualized tale. Back matter includes an author’s note.

Author: Gloria Whelan

Gloria Whelan is a poet and the award-winning author of many children's books including Homeless Bird, for which she received the National Book Award. The Listeners is her third title in the Tales of Young Americans series. Her other picture books with Sleeping Bear Press include Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers (2008 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner); Yatandou (a Junior Library Guild selection); and Friend on Freedom River (a Jefferson Cup honor book). Ms. Whelan lives near Lake St. Clair in Michigan where you can often find her out walking.

Illustrator: Kirbi Fagan

Kirbi Fagan is recognized for her cover art for adult, YA, and middle-grade fiction. She teaches at College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Kirbi lives in Detroit, Michigan.

  • Beginning of Text
  • A Note from the Author
Full-color illustrations