Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Tree

About the Book

For thou­sands of years Amer­i­can Chest­nut trees grew plen­ti­ful­ly in the forests of east­ern North Amer­i­ca. Peo­ple and ani­mals relied on them for food and shel­ter. The tree con­nect­ed the east and west coasts when it became wide­ly used in the con­struc­tion of rail­road tracks and for tele­phone poles. Then dis­as­ter struck. In the ear­ly 1900s, a tiny par­a­site found its way to North Amer­i­ca. What began in the bark of a few trees soon became an unstop­pable killing force that killed bil­lions of chest­nut trees.

Today, due to the work of sci­en­tists and vol­un­teers, the Amer­i­can Chest­nut tree is poised for a come­back. Its sto­ry is one of loss, dev­as­ta­tion, inves­ti­ga­tion, and restoration.

Awards and Recognition

  • Orbis Pic­tus Hon­or Book 2019
  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excel­lence in Sci­ence Books final­ist 2019
  • Chica­go Pub­lic Library Best of the Best Books 2018
  • Junior Library Guild selection
  • Nation­al Sci­ence Teach­ers Asso­ci­a­tion Out­stand­ing Sci­ence Trade Book 2019
  • Nation­al Sci­ence Teach­ers Asso­ci­a­tion Best STEM Books 2019


 “A com­pelling, inspir­ing true sto­ry of a species res­cued from extinc­tion through decades of deter­mined inno­va­tion.” (Kirkus Reviews)

 “The award-win­ning non­fic­tion author brings to light the intrigu­ing sto­ry of the belea­guered Amer­i­can chest­nut tree … Fas­ci­nat­ing and well-sourced.” (School Library Jour­nal)


writ­ten by Sal­ly M. Walk­er
Hen­ry Holt & Co., Mar 2018
hard­cov­er: 978–1250125231
144 pages, ages 10 and up

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