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A Heart For Home: Gardening with Kids: Plant & Garden Books for Children

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gardening with Kids: Plant & Garden Books for Children

Our whole family has been enjoying the start of our summer-long plant & garden nature study. Tim loves that we’re all out in the garden together, I love that we’re incorporating what we already spend our time doing with “official” learning, and the kids think it’s just plain fun!

To go along with all the garden and plant learning we’ve been doing, we’ve compiled a great list of garden themed children’s books.

There’s a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction represented. I think almost all of these books could be used in some form with children from preschool through elementary school.

A few of these books are from our home library, but the majority of them were found at our local public library. Almost all of these books can be purchased on Amazon (a great way to use gift cards from Swagbucks).


A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds
A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds
by Jean Richards 
The illustrations in this book are fantastic! The book is a good introduction to seeds, their purpose, and their growth. I did stumble upon a common misconception (that seeds need sunlight to grow), but found the book to be a good introduction and a great discussion starter about what “vegetables” are technically fruits.


A Garden Alphabet
by Isabel Wilner
Emahry received this book for her first birthday, so it’s an old favorite. Our copy was purchased second hand and is signed by the author :) The kids like the gardener dog and his (dog-sized) frog friend. This alphabet book is written in rhyming verse and includes the capital and lowercase of each letter. My favorite letter is “Uu’s underground, where some vegetables grow, Like the beet, carrot, radish, and the poe-tay-toe.”

A Gardener's Alphabet
by Mary Azarian
This is a much different style of alphabet book than the one above with only one word on each two-page spread. The illustrations are what makes this book so beautiful. The detail on each page really captures the imagination of the reader.

A Seed is Sleepy

A Seed is Sleepy
by Dianna Hutts Aston 
A wonderful mix of poetic phrases, science concepts, and beautiful watercolors makes this book a great addition to any seed study. This book really make informational text approachable and easy to understand.

Compost Stew

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

by Mary McKenna Siddals
This A to Z book of composting is written in rhyming text and tells what household “trash” can be thrown into the compost. The vibrant collage illustrations use recycled and found materials. There is one mention of “Mother Earth.”


From Seed to Daisy
by Laura Purdie Salas
This book follows the life cycle of a Shasta Daisy from seed to seed bearing flower. Plant facts and vocabulary such as germinate, photosynthesis, perennial, and pollen are naturally sprinkled throughout and accompanied with easy to understand explanations. The illustrations are crisp and bright and the book also includes fun facts and a glossary.



Grandma's Gloves
by Cecil Castellucci
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little girl whose Grandma teaches her all about flower gardening. “You are my most special flower of all” her grandma tells her. But when Grandma is hospitalized and later dies, the little girl is the only one who knows how to care for Grandma’s flowers. The book ends with hope as the girl promises to teach her mother everything Grandma taught her.

Growing Vegetable Soup

Growing Vegetable Soup
by Lois Ehlert
The story in this book follows the process of preparing a garden, planting seeds and seedlings, watering the garden, weeding, picking vegetables, and finally cutting things up and making soup. It’s a great way to lead up to a family cooking time.

How a Seed Grows

How a Seed Grows
by Helen J. Jordan 
This simple introduction of seed leads readers through the process of growing bean plants from seeds and helps with a basic understanding of how seeds work. It’s a great guide for a seed growing science experiment.


Jack's Garden

by Henry Cole
“This is the garden that Jack planted,” begins this spin-off of “The house the Jack built.” Each page adds to the description of the steps needed to plant and care for a garden. Each beautifully illustrated two-page spread is surrounded by labeled drawings of tools, insects, birds, eggs, and flowers. These detailed drawings make this a wonderful book even for older children.



Mortimer's First Garden

by Karma Wilson
We first fell in love with Mortimer last Christmas and this second story is just as sweet. When the small mouse hears about how planted seeds grow and produce more seeds he decides to plant his last sunflower seed. He is often discouraged and almost digs up his seed as he waits for the miracle to happen. The Christian message of trusting God is clear as Mortimer “hears” the voice of God and thanks God when the springtime miracle finally happens. Be sure to give Mortimer a nice squeaky voice when reading this one :)


Mud Pies and Other Recipes

by Marjorie Winslow
This isn’t exactly a gardening or plant book, but it is filled with wonderfully imaginative “recipes” for children to make outdoors. Some recipes include "Stuffed Seashells" and "Mud Puddle Soup," "Dandelion Soufflé," "Roast Rocks" and "Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake." Just don’t be surprised if your children start bringing you bowls of indistinguishable mush.

My Garden

My Garden

by Kevin Henkes 
After a young girl describes how she helps her mother in the garden she imagines the garden of her own dreams with chocolate bunnies, tomatoes as big as beach balls and flowers that grow back the instant they’re picked. This is a cute book to spark children’s imaginations and could easily lead to creative storytelling, writing, or artwork.


Oh Say Can You Seed, All About Flowering Plants

by Bonnie Worth
The Cat in the Hat examines the various parts of plants, seeds, and flowers; basic photosynthesis and pollination; and seed dispersal in this Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library book. The flow isn’t quite the same as Theodore Geisel's(original Cat in the Hat author), but it’s very close and teaches a lot of plant basics at the same time.

Planting a Rainbow

Planting a Rainbow 

by Lois Ehlert 
This colorful book follows the yearly cycle of growing a rainbow hued flower garden. It discusses planting bulbs, ordering seeds, anticipating the first spring shoots, and planting seedlings. Our kids really liked the six pages of varying width depicting all the flowers of each color of the rainbow.

Once There was a Seed

Once There was a Seed
by Judith Anderson 
This is a great little introduction to the life cycle of a seed
through the eyes of a little girl and her green-thumbed grandfather. There are notes for parents, as well as suggestions for learning activities that will reinforce the information in the book.

One Bean

One Bean

by Anne Rockwell 
This simple little book is perfect for following along with your own bean growing experiment. The illustrations are charming and show exactly what happens to the bean throughout the growing process.

Our Community Garden

Our Community Garden

by Bethany Roberts
Audrey lives in San Francisco, where she and her friends have plots in a community garden. They plant, weed, and water to raise their favorite vegetables which reflect their cultural heritage. This book discusses working, and playing, together. At the end everyone eats together to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Secrets of the Garden

Secrets of the Garden

by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld 
This book is a marvelous way for children to learn about nature and food chains. It follows a family as they prepare, plant, care for, and harvest from their backyard garden. The family’s two comical chickens lecture about the garden and how it connects to the food chain and food web.

Seeds and More Seeds

by Millicent Selsam
Published in 1963 as an “A Science I CAN READ Book” this story/science book follows a young boy name Benny as he sets up and performs his own experiments to learn more about seeds and the plants that they grow into.

Ten Seeds

Ten Seeds

by Ruth Brown 
The artwork in this book is beautiful! I also love the unique style of counting book that starts with ten seeds and one-by-one each seed or plant is destroyed until only one last flower remains—and drops ten seeds so the cycle can begin again.
The Carrot Seed
by Ruth Krauss
This is a simple story about a little boy who plants a carrot seed and knows that one day a carrot will grow. This book can begin a wonderful discussion about standing up for what you believe in and working hard for things you want.


The Curious Garden

by Peter Brown
Liam finds a struggling garden in a city all gray and dull. Over time the curious garden spreads to make the city vibrant, lush, and green. There is definitely an underlying eco-friendly theme, but nothing that jumps up on its soapbox. There’s also a wonderful inspiration from real life on the final page.


The Little Composter

by Jan Gerardi
This lift-the-flap board book is filled with playful rhymes that show what parts of foods can be added to the compost pile. Our toddler loves this book, but don’t let the fact the this is a board book keep you from sharing it with an older child—it’s a wonderful springboard to creating your own whole food to compost art projects.

The Oak Inside the Acorn

by Max Lucado
Little Acorn doesn’t believe he’ll ever be a big strong oak tree. He struggles with finding his purpose and being “the tree God made [him] to be." This is a beautifully illustrated (and heftier) book that can lead to several different discussions, including becoming who God want us to be.


The Tiny Seed

by Eric Carle
As seeds are scattered, one small seed struggles to survive while other seeds meet various disasters. This story of a small seed is a little odd if read alone. However, Amanda suggests a great way to use this book along with the Parable of the Sower found in the Bible in Matthew 13.

The Wind's Garden

by Bethany Roberts
A little girl tells the story of the garden she planted and compares it to the wild garden that is planted by the wind. This is a great way to discuss the beauty of domestic and natural gardens and a good practice for comparing and contrasting.

This is the Sunflower

This Is the Sunflower
by Lola M. Schaefer 
This book starts with one sunflower and through the “This Is the House that Jack Built” style rhyme ends with a patch of sunflowers. The watercolor illustrations are bright and vivid and it’s just plain fun to read.

Yucky Worms

by Vivian French
This fun book takes a humorous approach to explaining why worms are considered a gardener’s friends. Readers are shown where worms live, how they move, and how they help make gardens better. Great for boys or any child who loves creepy crawlies.


Do you know of any other good plant or garden books for children? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear your suggestions.


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7 Comments:

Anonymous msiddals said...

What a wonderfully diverse selection of books for cultivating a love of gardening and nurturing stewardship of the earth! Thanks for including Compost Stew, and keep up the good work spreading a little green in the world...
Mary McKenna Siddals
www.siddals.com

May 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

Our very favorite gardening/growing book is On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. We love Henry Cole books anyway and this one is fantastic. I also discovered The Gardener by Sarah Stewart this year.

May 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Charyse & Joshua said...

I absolutely love Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. Amazing pictures, descriptions, and wonderful creativity by the children in the story.

May 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Zinnia's Flower Garden (Monica Wellington) is wonderful as well. Zinnia keeps a diary of her flower garden from seed to picking bouquets.

May 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Tim, Allyson, and kids said...

@msiddals,
My husband and I believe we should do what we can to take care of the resources God has blessed us with...and teach our children to do the same.

@Kristin,
@Charyse & Joshua,
@Kathy,
Thanks for the book suggestions. Our library has them all, so we'll be enjoying them soon, but I've been told I need to return some books first :) We'll add them to our list once we've enjoyed them.

May 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Ms. Liz said...

What a great list! There are a few on here we haven't read, and now we plan on doing so soon! Thanks for sharing. Pinned this to our Preschool Gardening Board, perfect :)

May 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Foy Update said...

Love this. I'm a horticulturist and I just had my first baby. She's two months today. She already comes out to the co-op with me several days a week (mostly sleeps in her carrier).

I'll have to send this list to our local library and suggest strongly that they get any of these they don't already have.

We're having our inaugural Eat Make Grow Blog Hop. We are looking for folks to link up who want to share what they have been eating with their families, growing in their gardens or making with all their creative impulses. If you're interested, I hope you'll hop on over and link up a couple of your posts. It's a way for you to grow your readership and find other like minded mamas.

Hope to see you there,

Foy
http://foyupdate.blogspot.com/2012/08/inaugural-eat-make-grow-blog-hop.html

August 5, 2012 at 6:35 PM  

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