WE ARE BRANCHES by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes

I put a copy of We Are Branches on hold at the library assuming it would be about trees. And while trees make an appearance right in the opening, there is much more to this poetic, nonfiction title. Created by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes, the same duo behind Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, this is a new and lovely ode to another pattern found all around us. In trees, yes, but also feathers, rivers, lightning, and even in our own bodies.

This seems like such a niche concept, one that no young reader would search for a book about. Yet there is kid appeal on every page. We Are Branches invites children to look beneath the surface, observe closely, wonder deeply, and discover something that is ever present yet rarely considered.

The main text is lyrical and brief. The illustrations, made in part by scratchboard panels and watercolor, are heavy on fine details and light on white space, encouraging readers to peer at every spread. There are subtle and helpful labels on each page and the back matter explains how branching is a way for nature to spread something efficiently.

I’m now pondering all of the classroom applications of this book, whether using it to expand on a science concept, deepen understanding of patterns in a math unit, as a mentor text for poetry month, or a rare read aloud that is equal parts soothing and fascinating.

Sara Holly Ackerman

Sara Holly Ackerman is the author of several picture books including THE GABI THAT GIRMA WORE, co-authored with Fasika Adefris and illustrated by Netsanet Tesfay, NOT JUST THE DRIVER! illustrated by Robert Neubecker, and CHALLAH FOR SHABBAT TONIGHT illustrated by Alona Millgram. She is a school librarian who lives in Brooklyn, NY right down the street from the library and she never leaves home without her library card. Visit Sara at www.sarahollyackerman.com and on Instagram at @sarahollyackerman.


  1. Debra Kempf Shumaker

    Oooooh, this looks fascinating! Thanks for the recommendation, I will check immediately to see if my library has it!

  2. WOW. That is truly beautiful both in text and art. The applications for this book seem endless. I’m requesting now. Thanks so much for sharing. 🌲❤️

  3. This looks stunning! Love the concept – can’t wait to read it!

  4. This book looks wonderful. I love books about nature. Congrats!

  5. With these two artists, how can you go wrong? Can’t wait.

  6. I am a longtime fan of Joyce’s writing. Can’t wait to read this one.

  7. Wow! I love books that stretch kids and make them think!

  8. Oooh, as a lover of fractals, I love this concept. Thank you for highlighting it.

  9. Love this book! In fact, I love everything Joyce Sidman writes….

  10. Gorgeous AND fascinating! I can’t wait to read this!! Congratulations to both Joyce and Beth!

  11. Angie Quantrell

    This sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

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