Bare feet, bare hands, muddy shovel, and an occasional worm… the love of gardening blooms early in kids who love to dig in the dirt. From the time my oldest could walk, he’s been with me in the backyard while I tended the garden. When sweet child number two came along (literally, that day), our firstborn was riding in a wheelbarrow pushed by my father, who was so graciously planting our garden since I was a bit preoccupied. And now our littlest tike has followed suit, even if he simply loves to pick up the small stones from the garden path in his chubby hand and throw them.
We love to spend time outside when the weather permits, especially in the gardening months. And I love to cultivate an awareness of the outdoors, especially gardening, through books. I definitely want my children to know where food comes from, how it’s grown, and that it’s hard but satisfying work. We have stumbled upon some literary jewels in the library over the last year, and I just had to share a few of them with you, in hopes you too would be able to check them out and read them with your family!
Karma Wilson does a wonderful job in writing this book all about Mortimer the mouse and his first garden. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but Mortimer learns that the sunflower seeds he loves to eat could be used to grow a “garden” that will make lots of seeds! He learns patience, and God reassures him that his patience will pay off (isn’t that a lesson we all need?). It’s a beautifully illustrated book that my kids have checked out on several occasions. It’s also perfect if you’re planning to plant your garden soon, as a way to introduce seed planting to your children.
If you’ve read my blog at all, then you know I’m a big fan of composting. This fun A to Z book takes your child through lots of great things to put into the compost pile or bin. There was the occasional “eww” from my older two, but they were laughing at the same time. It’s perfect for preschool age kids who are learning their ABC’s, as well as older kids who may be interested in what happens to food scraps when they go into the composter. So, if you want to introduce your child to greener living in a bright and fun way, be sure to check out this book by Mary McKenna Siddals!
While this fun read from Peter Brown isn’t about a vegetable garden, it is all about how gardens can pretty much grow… anywhere! The character in this book watches a garden spread over abandoned buildings and unused spaces, and beauty is created where there was once just bleak scenery. The illustrations are eye-catching and so much fun for the kids. It’s also a great way to get your kids thinking about growing gardens in unusual places (that wheel-less wagon or the bird feeder you don’t use).
I hope you’ll rush right out and check these books out from your local library. I’ve also provided links above if you’d like to purchase them from Amazon if you’re not able to get to your library, or if you like to own the book. Instilling the love of reading (and gardening) in kids begins at an early age, so I’d love to hear what other garden books you enjoy reading with your own children!
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