Coming from Greystone Books in May 2023

My debut memoir, about searching for the Champion trees of British Columbia

A funny, deeply relatable book about one woman’s quest to track some of the world’s biggest trees.

When she first moved back west after nearly a decade away, Amanda Lewis was an overachieving, burned-out book editor most familiar with trees as dead blocks of paper. A dedicated “indoorswoman,” she could barely tell a birch from a beech. But that didn’t stop her from pledging to visit all of the biggest trees in British Columbia, a Canadian province known for its rugged terrain and gigantic trees.

The “Champion” trees on Lewis’s ambitious list ranged from mighty Western red-cedars to towering arbutus (madrone). They lived on remote islands and at the center of dense forests. The only problem? Well, there were many…

Climate change and a pandemic aside, Lewis’s lack of wilderness experience, the upsetting reality of old-growth logging, the ever-changing nature of trees, and the pressures of her one-year timeframe complicated her quest. Burned out again—and realizing that her “checklist” approach to life might be the problem—Lewis reframed her search for trees to something humbler and more meaningful: getting to know forests in an interconnected way.

Weaving in insights from writers and artists, Lewis uncovers what we’re really after when we pursue the big things—revealing that sometimes it’s the smaller joys, the mindsets we have, and the companions we’re with that make us feel more connected to the natural world.

Fun resources

Advance praise for Tracking Giants

“​In this intimate, open-hearted book of journeys and quests, ​Amanda ​Lewis gathers the wisdom of the woods in all its beauty and peril. Tracking ​G​iants is, at its heart, a guide to seeing and being in the world. For those from away, it will also be a personal introduction to one of the most profoundly alive places on earth. For those who live in the Pacific Northwest, it offers the humbling and illuminating experience of being reintroduced to a place you thought you knew well.​”

John Vaillant, award-winning author of The Golden Spruce​

“This is a wonderful truant of a book about our relationship with trees, with the precarious earth, with our own unchecked ambition. It begins as a simple solo quest to track some of the world’s biggest trees and emerges as a gorgeous manifesto for plotting a different course entirely. The timing of this book—with its wide roots and radical shoots—is just right.”

Kyo Maclear, bestselling author of Birds Art Life

“Holy conifers, I love this weird thing! I learned, I laughed, I sighed, I swooned. What an absolutely delightful romp through the forest, delivered with verve, joy, humility, determination, and grace. Amanda Lewis is the baddest of asses and I love this hilarious, heartfelt book and its quirky quest.”

Kate Harris, bestselling author of Lands of Lost Borders

“Never mind windmills, if Don Quixote wore hiking boots, maybe his quest would be to find all the giant trees. And like Amanda Lewis, if he were a witty, introspective self-professed nerd getting in and out of ‘Trouble’ (her long-suffering compact car where jams are cranked) maybe he’d write Tracking Giants. Generous, self-deprecating, and wise, this entertaining, informative and inspiring book shows us that if a tree falls in the forest, we need to listen—there are so many reasons why it might fall. It teaches us to see the forest and the trees, to navigate through the thicket of the modern world and ultimately to find ways to care for ourselves and our planet.”

Gary Barwin, bestselling author of Yiddish for Pirates and Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted

“A delightful and enlightening journey into the woods in search of superlative trees, Tracking Giants is a wonder-filled reminder that our forests don’t grow to be catalogued and clear-cut but to be enjoyed and cherished—from the biggest trees on down. In a loud world of big machines felling ancient groves, Amanda Lewis treads so softly here, with wit and colour, with care and passion, in an intimate exploration into how nature’s magnificent expressions, regardless of size or title, hold enormous capacity to inspire.”

Harley Rustad, author of Lost in the Valley of Death and Big Lonely Doug

Tracking Giants is a rich and leafy exploration of all things arboreal. Through her quest to visit all of British Columbia’s Champion trees, Amanda Lewis has written her way deep into the heartwood of humans’ intimate connection with our irreplaceable forests.”

Michael Christie, award-winning author of Greenwood

“Absolutely engrossing. In Tracking Giants, Amanda Lewis takes us down forest paths that we’ll never want to leave, and gives us new friends in Champion trees. Along the way we’re introduced to the tree species that tower above the Pacific Northwest, which we encounter through history and art and expert botanical voices. On top of that, Tracking Giants is laced with humour. Clearly, Lewis is the perfect hiking companion!”

Lyndsie Bourgon, author of Tree Thieves

“Is Tracking Giants an adventure story or a cautionary tale? A critique of pure ambition or a celebration of growth? Maybe it’s a portal to the forests of British Columbia, or an invitation to develop a relationship with that crab-apple tree down the street. It may be a gentle reminder that music makes everything better, or that love is another word for attention. Who knows? All we can say for sure is what Amanda Lewis gets—that good stories are like wild forests: Impossible to classify, and awfully fun to get lost in.”

Arno Kopecky, award-winning author of The Environmentalist’s Dilemma

“I’d follow Amanda Lewis into the woods any day for more hilarious misadventures of a big-tree hunter. In her quest to track British Columbia’s Champion trees, she reminds us all to slow the fuck down, let go of expectation, and connect with this planet’s wonders, big and small. Oh, and to always pack snacks. Tracking Giants left me enchanted, informed, and chuckling.”

Adria Vasil, bestselling author of the Ecoholic book series

Please pre-order

Tracking Giants is available to pre-order wherever books are sold in Canada, the US, and the UK. You can find it at: 

Your Local Bookstore

Indigo

Bookshop.org

Barnes & Noble

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