Reaching Halfway to Heaven: California Redwoods and the Logger Who Loved Them

We rated this book:


I really enjoyed reading Reaching Halfway to Heaven by Lori Peelen. Educational, heartfelt, and enlightening, readers both young and old will love this tale.

Based on a true story, Reaching Halfway to Heaven discusses the story of Wade Sturgeon, a California logger with an unexpected story. Growing up amongst the redwoods, Wade loved spending time outside with his sister. Whether that was fishing underneath the magnificent redwood branches, digging up wild lilies, or journaling notes on forest life, Wade valued and appreciated the outdoors. Dreaming of starting his career as a botanist, Wade had the perfect childhood for fostering a deep love of our planet, with his most beloved memories residing underneath the shade of the redwoods.
Unfortunately, life had other plans for Wade. With his father’s passing, college and botany were no longer a feasible reality. At 15, he had no choice but to help and provide for his family, leaving school behind to work in the fields.

Fast-forwarding many years into the future, Wade’s dreams of botany may have died, but not his love of the outdoors. With an extensive home garden, Wade continued to value and appreciate wildlife. However, with a family to support and job scarcity in his region, logging was the only way to put food on the table. Although extremely painful for Wade to destroy the beauty he so deeply valued, what choice did he have in order to take care of his children?

An excellent children’s book on all accounts – theme, narrative, illustrations, and topic – I was truly moved by Wade’s story. I think this book provides a plethora of lessons for younger children, teaching them not just about the importance of conservation and America’s history, but valuable life lessons as well. Taking from Wade’s story, sometimes circumstances outside of our control dictate our future. Our initial dreams and plans can go awry, something disappointing, but not something that has to stop our efforts. In the case of Wade, he may not have been able to make as big of an impact as he may have liked; after all, he was a California logger! But he still was able to make small differences, whether that was planting new seeds, teaching his children about preservation and still simply appreciating and valuing the beauty of nature.

A review of this book would be incomplete without mentioning the absolutely stunning illustrations by Kathy Goetzl. Breathing life into Wade’s story, I loved the vibrancy of color, attention to detail, and beauty these drawings brought over. Overall, this children’s book is a must-buy for young readers!

Reviewed By:

Author Lori Fisher Peelen
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 39 pages
Publisher Lori Peelen
Publish Date 30-Dec-2023
ISBN 9798988455813 Buy this Book
Issue April 2024
Category Children's