Gardening with children: seven great books

Teaching children about gardening as you build their literacy skills with these seven great books.

Gardening can be a family affair and the following books will help set the stage and get your young children, (and yourself) excited about the next growing season.

  • “From Seed to Plants” by Gail Gibbons – Suited for children age five and up, this book is an introduction to how plants go through their life cycle. Instructions on growing a bean plant are included.
  • "One Bean” by Anne Rockwell – Perfect for children age three and up, this book goes through a step-by-step journey of the life cycle of a bean plant. One Bean is a wonderful first book on gardening.
  • “A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds” by Jean Richards – A great introduction for children five and up at home or in a classroom, this book lends itself well for discussion and as preparation for activities with fruits, vegetables and gardening.
  • “Dinner from Dirt: 10 Meals Kids can Grow and Cook” by Emily Scott – Ideas for planting a sandwich, salad, pizza, spaghetti, even a dessert garden are included in this book for children ages 7 and up. It also covers preparing your garden spot, how and when to plant and safety factors to consider.
  • “Grow It Cook It” by Jill Bloomfield – Simple gardening project and simple recipes can be found in this book by DK Publishing for children grades three through six, and even older. This introduction to both gardening and healthy meals is a great resource for adults and the children in their lives.
  • “Compost Stew” by Mary McKenna Siddals – A great way to introduce children age three and up to the concept of composting through catchy rhyming lines and collage artwork illustrations.
  • “Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots: Gardening Together with Children” by Sharon Lovejoy – This book is fun and will spark creativity in all ages with information on growing a theme garden to planting a secret hideaway!

Check with your local library for any of these books; many of these authors are very popular. If your library does not have any of these titles you might suggest they add them to their wish list.

Gardening can open up a whole world of conversations to have with children; physical activity, nutrition, trying new foods, cooking, nature, caring for our earth and bugs just to name a few! If you are a first time gardener looking for more information; contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464) or on-line at the Michigan State University Extension bookstore.

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