Our Favourite Kids’ Garden Books

Check out our favourites on the Little Green Thumbs book shelf! Using children’s literature to connect kids to gardening, agriculture, good food and the natural world is a compelling and rewarding strategy. We’ve compiled some of our long-time favorite children’s literature to bring your garden learning to life!

A Seed Is Sleepy

by Dianna Hutts Aston & Illustrated by Sylvia Long

Grades 1-4

Bright and whimsical illustrations combined with fluid and poetic text make this book a favourite for teachers introducing students to the wonders of seeds! Simple sentences stretch student’s imaginations and encourages students to think about descriptive words. Each spread is devoted to a seed’s many attributes – such as adventurous, inventive, generous, ancient and clever. This is a wonderful addition to any educational units that not only focus on seeds and plants, but also on writing and language arts.

How Did That Get in My Lunchbox: The Story of Food

By Chris Butterworth

Grades K-3

The food system spans the activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, equity and the environment, which can make for engaging and challenging learning opportunities. The complex nature of our food system can make it a difficult study for younger learners, without a dedicated unit of study. That’s why we love the ‘How Did That Get in my Lunchbox. This read-aloud book helps elementary students (best for grade 2-4) explore how common lunchbox foods are produced, how these foods get to their plate, and explore the question ‘Where does our food come from?’.

Bonus! Check out these Little Green Thumbs lesson plans to accompany How Did That Get in My Lunchbox.

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

by Mary McKenna Siddals

Grades K-3

Compost Stew outlines the process of composting, its benefits to gardens, and its impact on the planet. But how do you start a compost pile? What’s safe to include? This book is a great addition to the classroom as a year-round reference , focus of study or Earth Day celebration. This rhyming picture book book shows how easy and fun composting can be!

Bonus! Check out a lesson plan from the Junior Master Gardener book ‘Literature in the Garden’ here.

If You Hold a Seed

by Elly MacKay

Grades K-2

A young boy plants a seed near his home by a bay and watches, through the changing seasons and passing years, as it grows from a seedling into a sapling and then a tall tree. Eventually, the boy becomes a man and the sapling is a full-fledged tree. A beautiful story with a great message about the value of persistence.

Water, Weed and Wait

by Edith Hope Fine and Angela Demos Halpin. Illustrated by Colleen Madden

Grades K-3

When Miss Marigold challenges the kids at Pepper Lane Elementary to turn an unpromising patch of their schoolyard into a garden full of fruits, flowers, and vegetables, they know they’ll need all the help they can get. Soon everyone in the community is lending a hand—including an unlikely neighbor with a soft spot for gardening. Students will come away with a sense of the effort that starting a garden requires, as well as the ways that it can transform a community. This book can be used with many themes including teamwork, friendship, hard work and of course gardening!

First Peas to the Table

By Susan Grigsby

Grades K-3

This is a great book with a mix of some history, botany and a great story. Thomas Jefferson believed that agriculture is “the crown of all other sciences” and the competition featured in the book is a nod to his similar competition with Jefferson’s contemporaries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Maya loves contests, so she is excited when her teacher announces that her class will plant a garden like Thomas Jefferson’s. Maya plants her pea seeds with a secret head start, found in Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book. But her friend Shakayla has plans of her own for winning the contest.

Bonus! Check out this lesson plan from City SchoolYard Garden, and have your own First Peas to the Table Contest.

Our School Garden

By Rick Swann and Christy Hale

Grades 3-6

This is a fantastic book for schools that are planning or have a vegetable garden. The story highlights the best parts of a school garden – a place for discovery, wonder, exploration, hard work, community and learning. The book is written from the perspective of those directly involved with school gardening and includes practical examples for creative teaching and learning.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

By Margaret McNamara

Grades K-4

The book modules skip counting and estimation in a fun pumpkin-themed classroom experiment. “How many seeds are in a pumpkin?” A great accompaniment for math and science class. Children must guess how many seeds are inside their pumpkin. A great chance to try your own pumpkin seed challenge in class too. This book is a great self-esteem booster and emphasizes that small things can still be great!

Bonus! Free Thematic Unit download from Teachers Pay Teachers here.

Grandpa’s Garden

By Stella Fry

Grades K-3

This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!

Bonus! Free Educators guide for Grandpa’s Garden from Reading is Fundamental here.

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