2019 Finalist: Middle Grade Science Book

Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree, by Sally M. Walker. Henry Holt and Company, 2018.

American chestnut trees were once plentiful in North America’s eastern forests. They towered up to one hundred feet tall, providing food and shelter for people and animals alike. To many, life without the chestnut was unimaginable—until disaster struct in the early 1900s. What began in the bark of a few trees soon became an unstoppable killing force, traveling across hundreds of miles and leaving dead chestnut trees in its wake. An unknown blight was wiping out the American chestnut, and scientists felt powerless to prevent it.

But the story doesn’t end there. Today, the American chestnut is making its comeback, telling a tale of loss and restoration, and of the triumph of human ingenuity.