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Spring Gardening

by Miriam Downey 30. April 2013 12:54

It's spring, finally, in Michigan, and it has been a long time coming. I took my toddler granddaughter outside yesterday afternoon, and she exclaimed, "Outside! No coat?"

Children are naturally drawn to gardening and watching things grow. It is an excellent way to teach botany and nature. Even if you live in the city or in an apartment, a little garden is so refreshing. In this week's book list, you will find picture books and stories about children in gardens.

My all time favorite book as a child was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Surprisingly, it has stood the test of time very well and remains a favorite of children. Children in grades 3 through 5 should have the opportunity to read it, but it also makes a wonderful read-aloud. It is about the restorative power of a garden and the creativity of children. Luckily it is a book that you can find easily online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17396/17396-h/17396-h.htm

My favorite for small children is The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. It is a great book for children who are beginning to read, but it is also wonderful for preschoolers because there are very few words. If you allow your children to watch YouTubes, you can find a cute version of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_FGxYqQOli

 And then, of course, there is the delightful award winning book, And Then Its Spring by Julie Fogliano. The little boy in the story is expressing my sentiments about spring.

I have listed some other great picture books about gardens and gardening. These books can be found at your local library or bookstore. Some are available online.

Picture Books

Quiet in the Garden by Aliki. A little boy is nurtured in his garden along with all the birds and small animals.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Little Peter Rabbit gets into Mr. MacGregor's garden.

Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie dePaola. A gardening book for fans of Strega Nona.

Jody's Beans by Malachy Doyle. Jody and her grandfather plant a garden.

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander. The beautiful hymn to nature with glorious illustrations.

Gardening Books

Seeds by Ken Robbins. Everything you need to know about seeds before you plant the garden.

Up, Down and Around by Katherine Ayres. Introduces young readers to gardening.

Two Seeds by Ruth Brown. A counting book about the life cycle of a sunflower.

Jack's Garden by Henry Cole. Follows a garden through the season. The follow-up book is called I Took A Walk.

Secrets of the Garden by Kathleen Zoehfeld. The story of Alice and her family as they plant their garden each spring.

Inside the Secret Garden: A Treasury of Crafts, Recipes, and Activities by Carolyn Strom Carlson. A book to be read in conjunction to the classic The Secret Garden.

Urban Gardens

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart. Lydia Grace has to move to the city, but she still finds a place to garden.

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting. With the help of her father, a little girl assembles a window box garden.

Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen. Planting a community garden.

City Green by Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan. An empty lot becomes a neighborhood garden.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Liam takes care of a struggling garden and turns the dark city green.

Websites

http://www.vegetable-gardening-online.com/vegetable-garden-planting.html

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/firstgarden/

http://www.douglascounty-ne.gov/gardens/images/stories/Garden%20projects%20to%20enjoy%20with%20your%20child.pdf

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