Although Big Tree is fictional, Selznick wanted everything he described to be scientifically accurate. He visited the New York Botanical Garden and spoke with a paleobotanist, a scientist who studies ancient plants. He taught Selznick about fossil species—plants, like sycamore trees, that have been on Earth since before the time of the dinosaurs.
A park ranger later explained that an underground network of fungi and roots connects all the trees in a forest, enabling them to share resources.
Those experts gave Selznick the ideas for Big Tree’s main characters and one of its key themes—the importance of working together to survive.
He says, “Forests are really communities.”
Selznick hopes readers will make their own connections to nature after reading Big Tree. He also wants them to find inspiration in the story of two little seeds that want to save the planet.
“We all can do something to help,” Selznick says. “No matter how small you feel, there’s always something you can do.”