It’s my birthday, and since sustainable farming and getting kids gardening is close to my heart, here are my favorite books for young children that emphasize loving nature, gardening, and good old-fashioned dirt-worship.
The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono: A tale of a man, his walking stick, a sack of acorns, and a lot of patience. Striking and profound in its message. Translated from its original French.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown: A curious boy creates a curious garden in a city that’s forgotten how to grow. One of my top favorites for encouraging little gardeners.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney: When I first read this book in a bookstore, I started to cry. It’s an incredibly beautiful story about a determined woman and her view on the meaning of life.
We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow and Bob Staake: Families in different parts of the world plant a tree, and together find many uses for their trees. It’s simple story is told more through the pictures than the words; though both are charming.
Weslandia by Paul Fleischman and Kevin Hawkes: An inspiring story about a boy who loves to study, and determines that rather than attempt to fit in amongst the people who think he’s weird, he goes about starting his own society centered around a single seed.
Farmers’ Market Day by Shanda Trent and Jane Dippold: My son’s favorite book about going to the Farmers’ Market. It’s a sweet story about a girl excited to get to the market with her parents and all the delights she finds within.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss: The classic book teaching us about species interconnectedness and protecting our local and global ecologies.
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus: The famous book about a boy who plants a carrot seed and tends it despite all those around him who share their skepticism. It’s a great book for teaching both optimism and patience.
A Leaf Can Be by Laura Perdie Salas: This book is filled with soft, colorful images supporting a poem about the many occupations of a humble leaf from shade to food. The artwork in this book is charming and appeals to me on a heart level.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes: A whimsical tale of a girl’s imagined garden and the wondrous surprises she finds there. From flowers that change color on a whim to chocolate bunnies who won’t eat her lettuce to planting seashells, she has strong ideas of what a garden should be.
Little Yau by Janell Cannon: This book should not be overlooked for gardeners who know that some plants are meant for healing. Janell Cannon is a storyteller of immeasurable talent whose books all contain captivating stories and luscious artwork. Little Yau is a follow up to Trupp, both young Fuzzheads, but in this book, Little Yau must use her training as an herbalist to heal her childhood friend. If you’re not familiar with Cannon’s work, and also love herbalism, this is a great place to start.