A Leaf Can Be…
A leaf can be a…Shade spiller…Mouth filler…Tree topper…Rain stopper…
Leaves and trees feed us, shade us, and heal our planet. They can also shelter tiny bats, paint the hills gold in autumn, and be umbrellas for wildlife. Find out about some of the roles leaves play in this brief, poetic exploration of leaves throughout the year. Stunning art by Violeta Dabija brings the magic of our world to the page.
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Violeta Dabija
Publisher: Millbrook Press, 2012
Signed Copies Available
Awards & Recognition
- Bank Street Best Books
- IRA Teachers’ Choice
- NCTE Notable Children’s Book
- Minnesota Book Award Finalist
- Scholastic Book Club selection
- Riverby Award for Nature Books for Young Readers
- SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book
- Finalist for KRA’s Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award
- Nebraska Agriculture Foundation’s Book of the Month May 2018
- Teaching Guide
- Literature Guide from Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom
- Write a Can Be… book–lesson plan and templates for students!
- Common Core State Standards Activity Sheets
Grade K – Reading Informational Text
Grade 1 – Reading Informational Text
Grade 2 – Reading Informational Text
Grade K – Writing
Grade 1 – Writing
Grade 2 – Writing
Reviews & More
- New York Times review: “Grown-up readers may be a bit in awe too.”
- School Library Journal review: “A lovely observation about nature, suitable for a variety of science units or individual sharing.”
- Kirkus review: “Simple and pleasing, with classroom-discussion and read-aloud appeal.”
- Publishers Weekly review: “Salas explores the many functions a leaf can serve with simple grace.”
- Many more reviews and blog posts about A Leaf Can Be…
- Watch a cool 3rd-grade art project inspired by A Leaf Can Be…
How the Book Began
I love rhyming nonfiction picture books, and I was looking for a topic to write about. In paging through my other books, I came across a poem I wrote for Chatter, Sing, Roar, Buzz: Poems About the Rain Forest. It was about Honduran tent bats, which chew through ribs of large leaves. These tiny bats huddle along the spine of the leaf and the broken fronds fold down around them, sheltering them from rain and predators. How cool is that? It made me wonder what else leaves do, and it was fun to learn about all the purposes leaves serve in our world. And it was even more fun to write about them in rhyming couplets!
Meet the Illustrator
Violeta Dabija lives in Moldova, a small Eastern European country I don’t think I had ever heard of! She works in traditional and digital media and often mixes them to produce delicate and atmospheric illustrations with a traditional feel. She has illustrated many children’s books, but I think this was her first U.S. book. I love the translucency, the quality of light in her work.
I am thrilled with Violeta’s stunning art for A Leaf Can Be…, and I was not surprised that Lerner chose one of her illustrations from this book for its electronic and print holiday cards the year this book came out! To see more of her work, please visit Violeta Dabija’s website.