Brian Selznick’s ‘Big Tree’ to be published next spring

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. bill as (something) / bɪl æz / (phrasal v.) – to describe a person, product, service, or event in a certain way so that the public would like or want that person or thing

    The new drink is billed as having the taste of summer.

  2. quest / kwɛst / (n.) – a long and difficult journey to find or do something

    They are on a quest to find a hidden treasure.

  3. point of view / ˈpɔɪnt əv ˈvyu / (n.) – the position from which a story or experience is being told

    The story was told from the point of view of a 6-year-old.

  4. metaphor / ˈmɛt əˌfɔr / (n.) – a word, phrase, or expression for one thing that is used to refer to another thing that has similar characteristics

    My favorite metaphor in her song is “ocean eyes.”

  5. adaptable / əˈdæp tə bəl / (adj.) – able to adjust to fit different conditions

    A manager should be adaptable to lead different projects effectively.


Read the text below.

Brian Selznick’s next book was inspired in part by a famous friend, Steven Spielberg.

Billed by publisher Scholastic as a “love letter to the natural world,” Selznick’s “Big Tree” tells the story of two sycamore seeds and their quest across time and space to save the world. The 528-page book, featuring nearly 300 pages of illustrations by Selznick, comes out April 4, 2023. He began working on “Big Tree” after Spielberg suggested he write a story of nature, from nature’s point of view.

“‘Big Tree’ is about a kind of hope that can be found in nature,” Selznick said in a statement. “It’s about surviving by working together to create a community. It’s about moving forward, planning for the future, and growing — even in the face of destruction. The natural world offers so many beautiful metaphors to help us live. Trees need each other to survive in the same way people need each other to survive. And like nature, we need to be adaptable as we grow.”

In a statement about the book, Spielberg said, “The tale of the natural world is the greatest story we have to tell, and Brian delivers a brilliant chapter of it in the pages of ‘Big Tree.’”

Selznick’s previous books include “Wonderstruck,” “The Marvels” and “Invention of Hugo Cabret,” winner in 2008 of the Caldecott medal for illustration of a children’s story and the basis of Martin Scorsese’s film “Hugo.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Spielberg said that the tale of the natural world is the greatest story we have to tell. What do you think he meant by this? Discuss.
  • Selznick said that the natural world offers so many beautiful metaphors to help us live. If you were to compare yourself to nature, what would you compare yourself to (ex. flowers blooming, a river flowing)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Big Tree is told from nature’s point of view. If the nature in your area could speak to you/your community, what do you think it would say (ex. please take care of us, thank you for preserving us)? Why? Discuss.
  • If you were to write a book from the point of view of something non-human, what story would you like to tell? Why? Discuss.