|by Edith Hope Fine|
Okay, I feel like a slacker. I'm the Librarian at the school and I haven't posted any book suggestions. I have been a little busy with actually taking care of the Garden, wrapping things up in the Library, and taking care of my family so I will try not to be so hard on myself.
I am an avid reader. I read ALL the time. I devour books. My husband wishes I would frequent the Public Library more but when I fall in love with a book (which is daily) I strive to adopt it into my personal library. Fortunately, Rob understands my obsession to adopt homeless books and has added a line item to our personal budget to include books. Thank goodness for The Book Barn in Niantic, CT. My favorite branch by far is Midtown. They have the best children's selection.
I could give you pages and pages of suggestions for children's books as I adore children's books. They always seem to leave the reader hopeful even if the ending isn't happy (except for Grimms's tales, those dudes were demented in a real life isn't even close to a fairy tale kinda' way. I still appreciate them!). This is a blog about gardening with children so I will keep my suggestions related to the content. In our research, Rob and I found many, many amazing books to help you start and maintain a successful school garden. For today, I will stick to storybooks as I like for children to read about things as they experience them. Here is a list of a few of my favorites in no particular order.
Water, Weed, and Wait by Edith Hope Fine, illustrated by Colleen Madden. This is a story about a group of children who take a sad part of their school playground and turn it into a garden. In the process they learn about community and making new friends. It's in my favorite list because it showcases the importance of children being involved in a school garden project.
Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew. This fun story starts out with Katie planting sunflowers with her Grandmother when rain sends them indoors to the art museum. Mayhew's sweet illustrations make the works of van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne come to life in a way you would never have expected. Fun romp for children who like to "picture" themselves in the art or stories they experience.
Weslandia by Paul Fleischman. Wesley is different from the other children and doesn't seem to fit in anywhere at school. As a summer project Wesley decides to take what he learned at school and start his own civilization beginning with a staple crop. He turns a patch of his yard into a garden plot. Overnight mysterious seeds blow in and begin to grow. From this small piece of land Wesley cultivates more than a garden. This one is a must read so I am not going to give anymore away.
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Alice learns from her grandfather that it is our responsibility to make the world a more beautiful place. Follow adventurous Alice on her life-long journey and see how she decides to carry out her grandfather's instructions. Heartwarming tale and gentle reminder how it doesn't take grand gestures to make the world more beautiful.
June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner. Multiple Caldecott Medal winning illustrator Wiesner never disappoints. This oldie but goodie is no exception. His detailed illustrations make the absurd wonderfully believable. See what happens when student Holly Evans decides to set seedlings aloft into the ionosphere for her science experiment. This one is best appreciated when you have time and inclination to gather your little ones in your lap and spend lots of time exploring each page. This gem of a book is a feast for the eyes and imagination. It will have your little ones looking at veggies in a whole new way!
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Little Liam is curious about what would happen if he tends a struggling garden in the middle of a drab city. The chain of events he sets off is miraculous and heartwarming.This one may inspire your little one to tend their own little patch of land.
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Ashley Wolff.
The catchy rhyming text highlights the importance of composting. It also outlines the dos and don'ts of composting in a fun simple way.
A Handful of Dirt by Raymond Bial. This non-fiction text outlines in wonderful detail how dirt is a living microcosm and what you need to make and keep it healthy. The text is lengthy but full of amazing (and sometimes gross) photography that will keep a young reader engaged. The reading level is for 4th or 5th graders but younger readers will be engaged by the vivid pictures. Worth a look.
All of these fine books can be found at your local Public Library. If they don't have them on their shelves they can get them for you from another library. I have included links with these books so you can look at the covers and see what other folks are saying about them.I have 11 other books sitting on my desk right now that I wanted to add to this list but didn't want to overwhelm you. If you liked any of these let me know and I can give you the rest of my list :)