I love to read! Just love it. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was a great break to have such a mild winter, and I didn’t miss extreme, long stretches of cold, so much snow you run out of places to put it, and feeling stir crazy for months on end. I *did* miss the curling-up-with-a-good-book-in-front-of-a-You-Tube-fireplace. We seemed to be more active this winter, and it never got cold enough for me to cocoon. I feel like I’m playing catch-up, now, as I figure out some plans for my garden.
A recent trip to the library reminded me that there do exist books I can share with my kids about gardening – some books can really help to communicate the love I have for growing things, the interest I have in it, without me being all, “Hey, kids, be just like me and like all the stuff I like!” They are unique kids each with unique interests. But, all the same, this is a neat part of me that I want to share with them – these books helped to open up the topic of conversation, more at their level. They all speak to the theme of country meets city, and coexist.
The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart
Faced with parents out of work, and unable to properly care for her, a young girl is sent from the country home she has always known, into a large city – to live with a relative she has never met. Uncle doesn’t smile, but this girl has a plan – to bring her love of growing things to him – complete with seeds she has saved, soil donated by neighbors, and help from her uncle’s employees in the bakery he owns. Does she finally get the smile she seeks when she reveals her amazing city-rooftop surprise?
I thought this was a charming book with lovely pictures. It is told in the form of letters back and forth from Grandma on the farm to the young lass in the city. I think it shows the connection we all have with wanting beauty, especially in the form of green things, around us.
The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown
Liam is out exploring one day in his gray, dingy, depressing city – when he sees an un-used elevated train track with some green – and gets an idea.
He creates a wonderful elevated garden, bit by bit, and brings beauty to the city – and friends and neighbors take notice, and participate, and the life of the city is changed.
This book was shared in our neigborhood as a Traveling Garden Award last summer. Ten copies of the book circulated, passed on from neighbor to neighbor as a kind of “prize” – to say, “Hey, I like what you’re doing in your yard/garden” – however big or small. It was a neat project, and the book has fabulous pictures that really captured the boys’ attention.
The Garden of Happiness, by Erika Tamar
Marisol sees a strange sight one afternoon – her neighbors are hauling trash out of the yucky vacant lot on her block – next they start bringing in soil, peat moss, putting up stakes and string – before she can quite figure the new neighborhood garden plot out, all the spots are taken. Not to be deterred, Marisol finds a crack in the sidewalk on the border of the garden, begs a large flat seed from the pigeons being fed by old Mrs. Garcia, and has a wonderful journey watching her plant grow – as well as watching the produce and stories emerge from the neighborhood garden. Her plant opens up, revealing a bloom as ‘big as a dinner plate’ and golden yellow -a sunflower!
I like the multicultural aspect of this book, and that gardening is something that can be done in a small space, shared across cultures. This is a simple book, with whimsical pictures, but of the three, I think the boys liked this one best. My own personal favorite was ‘The Gardener’ (above) but all three are worth reading and sharing with the special kids in your life!
Do you have any favorite gardening or nature books for kids?