Thursday, April 27, 2017

Growing little gardeners: picture books to encourage young children in the garden (ages 3-8)

The sun shone brilliantly on today, making me wish I were out in the garden. My children loved digging in the dirt when they were young. Is that something you enjoy doing with your kids?

Check out these favorite picture books to share about gardening, and share your excitement with your children. All feature a diverse range of kids. Several are new in paperback this spring.
In Anywhere Farm, Phyllis Root uses upbeat rhyming text showing all the places we can grow our vegetable garden: “Plant a farm in a crate! / Plant a farm in a cup! / In a box on a balcony / ten stories up! / Plant a farm in a truck! / In a box on a bike! / Plant an anywhere farm / anywhere that you like.” Illustrations by G. Brian Karas emphasize how children in an urban community comes together to help create a neighborhood garden. "Anybody can do it. / You've showed it's not hard." (Candlewick, 2017)

It's Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden (by George Ancona) chronicles a year in the life of a school garden, from spring planting all the way through preparing for winter. Color photographs show students composting soil, watering plants, and sampling the edible delights. The garden at Acequia Madre Elementary School will inspire you to make the garden an outdoor classroom for your children. (Candlewick, 2013)

In Lola Plants a Garden (also in Spanish), Lola wants a garden just like in her favorite nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, quite contrary." Anna McQuinn's simple text and Rosalind Beardshaw's joyful illustrations make this a great choice to read aloud to preschoolers, or for first graders to read independently: "Lola and Mommy make the garden. The seed packets mark where the flowers are planted." (Charlesbridge, 2014)

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (by Kate Messner and Christopher Neal) explores a garden above ground and below, as it transforms from early spring through late autumn. A child and her grandmother garden for long hours above ground, while below ground animals of all shapes and sizes forage for food and maintain the soil in their own parallel efforts. "Up in the garden, we pick cukes and zucchini, harvesting into the dark...Down in the dirt, skunks work the night shift. They snuffle and dig, and gobble cutworms while I sleep." (Chronicle Books, 2015)

The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick, Charlesbridge and Chronicle. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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