• Kim Bogren Owen

The Lessons a Garden Teaches: Books that Explore Gardening with Kids


As the snow finally starts to melt and flowers begin to burst after their long winter sleep, we start to think about planting our own gardens. Children love digging in the dirt and growing things so gardening is the perfect activity for young children. Explore the different forms that gardens take and their inhabitant's with the following books.

In The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, a young boy decides to plant a carrot seed. No one in his family thinks it will grow, but he keeps tending it and keeping his faith that it will grow. Finally, it does and produces a giant carrot! Plant your own carrot seeds in your garden or in a deep pot. As your carrot grows, check how tall it is once a week and keep a chart to track its growth.

A young boy discovers a secret garden along abandoned railroad tracks in the plant-less city where he lives in The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. He tends the garden all spring and summer and comes back after winter to help it thrive. With his help the curious garden sets out to explore the rest of the city and soon is everywhere. As you walk around your neighborhood, look for places where plants have volunteered to grow like the plants in The Curious Garden.

A girl and her father go to the store to pick flowers and a planter as a gift for the girl's mother in Flower Garden by Eve Bunting and Kathryn Hewitt. A great book to show that gardens can be big or small! This book is a wonderful inspiration to give a container garden to a family member or friend.

Billy's grandfather shows him how to work the soil, fertilize it, and manage pests in Grandpa's Garden by Stella Fry and Sheila Moxley. Their hard pays off and as fall comes they enjoy the fruits and vegetables of their labor.

Inch by Inch: The Garden Song by David Mallett and Ora Eitan is the picture book version of the cherished children's song by the same name. Enjoy reading this book with your child, and listen to the song on Youtube here.

Lola decides she wants her own garden so with help from the library and her parents, she picks her seeds and plants them in Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw. After a long wait, she invites her friends over to share her garden's bounty. Let your child look through plant catalogs or choose seeds at the garden store to plant in your garden.

A group of children take a field trip to a farm and explore all the opposites along the way in Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky and Susan Swam. A great book for introducing springtime vocabulary.

A girl and her grandmother work in their garden throughout spring to prepare it and plant in Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal. This book explores each step of growing a garden. A delightful romp in a garden!

After reading these books start your own garden, even if it just one pot on your doorstep or patio. Radishes grow well and fast in pots! Have your child help with the care of the plants from preparing the soil to watering them to harvesting the vegetables. Children will often try a food when it comes from their garden and they have helped to cook it. Of course, not all gardens grow food for people so use these books to talk about plants that benefit other animals and insects, or gardens that are only flowers.

As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about gardening in the comments, and keep an eye out on Pinterest for additional recommendations on this subject.

(This blog uses the Amazon affiliate program so when you click on the title and purchase through Amazon, you are supporting us! If you don't purchase through these links, please, be sure to support your local, independent bookstore or find them at your library!)

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