Connecting with Nature

Pasadena author takes a deeper look at trees

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Pasadena author Louise Wannier figures she has taken about 20,000 photos of trees. She loves the trunk patterns and sees an energy in them. 

She shares this love through her book “Tree Spirits,” with which she hopes to inspire creativity and imagination in children. It helps kids see and visualize the world in nonobvious ways and introduces them early to an understanding of their own inner spirit and feelings: key skills for early childhood development and crucial for lifelong success.

“Tree Spirits” opens with, “What do you see when you look up at this tree?” From there, children are introduced to peek-a-boo illustrations by April Tatiana Jackson and Wannier’s photographs. 

The images encourage children to see and connect with nature while the text introduces them to the illustrated animal characters and how they are feeling. From the happy alligator to the sad elephant and curious little mouse, 10 illustrations and text help to develop emotional intelligence, an understanding of their feelings and encourage them to develop empathy.

An artist by trade, Wannier has been in Pasadena since 1964, when she moved here from England. Her father was recruited to work at Cal Tech as a scientist.

Wannier is a creative entrepreneur. She has built four companies and advised many others in different industries: education technology, consumer electronics and publishing, information management software and fashion/ecommerce.

Wannier has had a rich career. She lent her photographs to Barbara Hemphill’s book “Less Clutter More Life.” Wannier also founded the publishing company True Roses Inc.

“Barbara has two more books in the series she wants to do,” Wannier says. “I have a number of friends who have quite interesting stories and books to bring to the market. If I can find someone who wants to help build it, I might do it.”

For “Tree Spirits,” Wannier pulled the photos together first and sent out a “practice book” to children she did not know.

“I got some very nice and helpful feedback,” she says. 

“Writing the words was the hardest part. I write, but I hadn’t written or children’s books. I sat with the images, and I let the words come to me. It took close to nine months to write the words.”

Wannier is hoping to do five volumes of “Tree Spirits.”

“I have them all planned out in my head,” says Wannier, who donates books to classrooms and then arranges readings.

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