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Check out these favorite books that celebrate the garden. Read to your class, and then bring the kids out to the garden for an activity - see below for activity links.

To purchase, click on the book cover for more details. Happy reading!

Tiny Seed GEF Garden Activity:
Seeds in Different Soils
How Many Seeds

The Tiny Seed Eric Carle
This picture book admirably conveys the miracle of a seed. Flower pods burst and dispatch their seeds on the wind; the air-borne seeds are subject to myriad disasters; and the ones that make it through the perils of the seasons to become mature flowering plants are still susceptible to being picked, trod upon and otherwise damaged. But nature allows for survivors, and so the tiny seed grows into a giant flower, releasing its seeds and continuing the cycle.

 

Rainbow

GEF Garden Activity:
Dissecting a Flower

Planting a Rainbow Lois Ehlert
This educational and enjoyable book helps children understand how to plant bulbs, seeds, and seedlings as well as how to nurture their growth.

 

Growing Veggie Soup

GEF Garden Activity:
Kitchen Gardening Section

Growing Vegetable Soup Lois Ehlert
First, there is the idea, then the actual work: tools are employed for planting seeds that grow first into sprouts, then into plants and then vegetables. The process involves water, weeding, digging up and washing; finally, there is the reward of cooking the vegetables and, yes, eating the soup.

 

How A Seed Grows

GEF Garden Activity:
How Many Seeds
Seeds in Different Soils

How a Seed Grows Helene J. Jordan
Revised illustrations and format make this book, originally published in 1960, a valuable choice. With charming illustrations and clear text, this simple introduction leads young readers through a series of steps that result in bean plants as well as a basic understanding of how seeds work.

 

Seed to Plant

GEF Garden Activity:
Leaf Peeping

From Seed to Plant
Gail Gibbons
A simple introduction to how plants reproduce, discussing pollination, seed dispersal, and growth from seed to plant.
Activity Link: “”

 

A Fruit Suitcase

GEF Garden Activity:
How Many Seeds
Seed Savers

A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds Jean Richards
An excellent introduction to seeds, their purpose, and growth that should be easy for young children to grasp. On each page, one or two short lines of text appear beneath a large painting. Hariton's use of bright watercolors adds sensual appeal to her illustrations of various fruits, vegetables, animals, and habitats.

 

A Seed is Sleepy

GEF Garden Activity:
Adopt a Plant
Seed Savers

A Seed is Sleepy Dianna Hutts Aston
Each page is devoted to the seed's many attributes, including adventurous, inventive, generous, ancient, and clever. The text then builds on these descriptors with interesting facts.

 

Jacks Garden

GEF Garden Activity:
Garden Scavenger Hunt

Jack’s Garden Henry Cole
A cumulative story that traces a little boy's backyard flower garden from tilling the soil to enjoying the blossoms. The text delightfully catalogs the process in a take-off on the old rhyme "This Is the House That Jack Built."

 

The Tiny Brown Seed

GEF Garden Activity:
Seed Savers

The Tiny Brown Seed
Daniele and Craig Frazier
Written from a seed's perspective, this book follows the life of a seed growing to a full-grown, fruit-bearing tree and all its encounters along the way.

 

Sunflower

GEF Garden Activity:
Sunflower House

Sunflower House Eve Bunting
A young boy plants the seeds in a large circle. He waters them and waits patiently until they grow taller than himself, with huge nodding blossoms that form a perfect "sunflower house." He and two friends play in the "house" all summer, even sleeping in it one night, until the leaves turn brown and the stems fall down. Then they fill their pockets with the seeds, the birds eat some, and the rest are left on the ground to grow again next summer.

 

Container Gardening

GEF Garden Activity:
Recycled Planters

Container Gardening for Kids Ellen Talmage
This lively and inviting gardening book gives directions for 20 beginning projects. Readers are invited to use old sneakers, toys, watermelon rinds, etc. Novelty does not obscure the basics of good gardening, however; the importance of good drainage and the best mixture of soil are discussed, as are how to get the best plants and supplies for your money. Unusual subjects are introduced, such as growing mushrooms, making an insect-repellent pet collar out of herbs, and making a floral sundial out of an old tire.

 

Planting the seed

GEF Garden Activity:
Seeds in Different Soils
Soil Investigators

Planting the Seed Suzanne Winckler
Winckler describes the relationship between climate and plants and explains why a gardener should think twice about trying to adapt a plant to one's backyard: "Forcing a plant to grow where it does not belong is like making penguins live in a tropical rain forest." An advocate for organic gardening, she explains the science of composting and sheds light on insects and reptiles that help or hurt gardens.

 

Garden

GEF Garden Activity:
Garden Scavenger Hunt

Whose Garden Is It? Mary Ann Hoberman
The gardener says the garden belongs to him. But the woodchuck insists that it's his. And so do the rabbit, the butterfly, the squash bug, and the bumblebee. Even the tiny seeds and whistling weeds think the garden just couldn't grow without them. As they stroll through the exquisite plants and flowers, Mrs. McGee and her child listen and wonder: Whose garden is it?

 

Flower

GEF Garden Activity:
Butterfly Window Box

Flower Garden Eve Bunting
Follow the progress of a little girl and her father as they purchase "a garden," and board the bus to carry it home. The pansies, tulips, daffodils, geraniums, and daisies are lovingly planted in a window box, and the candles on the cake are lighted--just as Mom walks in the door to find her daughter, her husband, and her birthday surprise.

 

In The Garden

GEF Garden Activity:
Garden Scavenger Hunt

 

In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? Lindsay Barrett George
Christina and Jeremy have been sent to the garden to gather vegetables for dinner. But they quickly realize that they are not the first visitors to the garden today. There's a slimy trail on a leaf in the cucumber patch, and some corn kernels have been pecked off the cob. Not only that, someone has been snacking on the lettuce leaves! Christina and Jeremy follow the clues to discover which birds, animals, and insects have been in their garden. Keep your eyes open and join Christina and Jeremy on a scientific journey in their own backyard!

 

The Gardener

GEF Garden Activity:
Butterfly Window Box
Recycled Planters

The Gardener Sarah Stewart
When the Depression hits her family, Lydia Grace, 10, leaves her snug rural home and journeys to a nearby city to live with dour Uncle Jim. But Lydia is a resilient child and when she sees empty window boxes, she makes plans to fill them with flowers.

 

Pumpkin Circle

GEF Garden Activity:
Seed Savers

Pumpkin Circle The Story of a Garden George Levenson
Rhyming text and glowing photographs follow a pumpkin patch as it grows and changes, from seeds to plants to pumpkins ready to harvest to jack-o-lanterns and then to seeds again. Full color.

This Years Garden

GEF Garden Activity:
Adopt a Plant

This Year’s Garden Cynthia Rylant
A garden's cycle takes an entire year. Winter is the time for planning, and spring for planting. After the long summer, the first vegetables are ready to eat. Then comes the fall harvest. Here is a glorious picture book, one family's "almanac" of this year's - and each year's - garden.

 

Eating the Alphabet

GEF Garden Activity:
How Many Seeds

Eating the Alphabet Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z Lois Ehlert
While teaching upper- and lowercase letters to preschoolers, Ehlert introduces fruits and vegetables from around the world. A glossary at the end provides interesting facts about each food.