Children’s book focuses on beloved Nevada City tree |

Children’s book focuses on beloved Nevada City tree


We who are fortunate enough to live in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are, these days, faced with the prospect, when we dare to venture outside, of seeing an unrecognizable universe. It is more akin to a vision of New Delhi or Mexico City on their worst days. Smoke! The once beautiful forests aflame spreading toxic smoke in every direction. Perhaps the only saving grace in the end is the actual trees still standing.

Is one tree important?

Less than one year ago, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Union and other media outlets were publishing stories about cutting down the old historic trees of Nevada City. Some of the headlines:

Nevada City Residents Fight PG&E Over Cutting Trees (Sacramento Bee, Oct. 2, 2020); ‘Bella’ Comes Down: Nevada City Police Escort People Away During Tree Cutting (The Union, Oct. 22, 2020); Upset Residents Watch PG&E Cut Down Century Old Tree in Nevada City (KCRA, Oct. 22, 2020)

One reader wrote: “Brush and ladder fuels (profuse in the areas surrounding Nevada city) carry fire, not large diameter trees in the center of towns.”

Many people in Nevada City gathered together to try to save Bella, the large Blue Atlas Cedar in the of center of downtown on Broad Street.

Lia Gladstone wrote what became a children’s book, titled simply “Bella Blue,” with illustrations by her neighbor and designer Kathy Dotson, who also lost trees during that fateful fall when some community members tried and mostly did not succeed in saving some of Nevada City’s trees. Another neighbor and lover of Bella, Jessica Leigh Henry, contributed her painting of Bella for the cover.

To make publication and distribution of “Bella Blue” a reality, Lia has launched an online Kickstarter campaign. She is hoping to raise enough funds to share this beautiful and important book.

“Yes, she is just one tree,” says Lia, “but for many of us she represents and is symbolic of what we desire for our planet for the next generations and beyond.”

To contribute to the Bella Blue Kickstarter campaign and get a sneak peek at the book, visit:

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