Tag Archives: Juvenile books

Reading & Weeding as the Garden Grows

Children and gardening is a match made in heaven.  They are both about starting small, growing, depending on others, and finally turning into something very special.  Still, not every parent, grandparent or care provider has a green thumb.  Nor does everyone have a backyard primed for planting.  And some of us have little gardening wisdom to impart.  Still, we have stories to share, tons of resources and glorious books to read with kids.  Virtual gardening is a great option.

Experienced gardeners and those who remember the farm or stories of rural life know the routine.  Though life experience is always the best teacher, book stores and libraries offer rich collections of good reads that introduce kids to the many facets of gardening – books that tell the garden story at a pace kids can comprehend, with options for experienced gardeners to elaborate on the text and illustrations.

Though authorities would probably promote connecting kids and gardens during the spring planting season, I think harvest season works as a good alternative.  A rich harvest shows the result of plant growth coupled with the caring hands of the gardener.  Kids appreciate the beauty of a blooming rose and the great taste of strawberries and corn on the cob.  Knowing the ROI they can track back to learn about the process that transforms the inert seed into an edible product or visual treat.

As with any list, this a pitifully inadequate representation of the possibilities – just a nudge to remind us all that a good story can be the best teacher:

Alison’s Zinnea, by Anita Lobel. Alison gives an amaryllis to Beryl who bestows a begonia on Crystal.   You get it – an alphabet book about plants.

Beautiful, by Susi Gregg Fowler.  A story about the gift of gardening and watching that gift blossom.  Centers on the relationship between a garden, an uncle and his nephew.

Isabella’s Garden, by Glenda Millard.  A picture book

And Then It’s Spring, by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead. A picture book

The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krause.  A picture book

And the Good Brown Earth, by Kathy Henderson.  A grandma and a young boy go through the planning, planting, weeding/watering, gathering seasons.

Flower Garden, by Eve Bunting.  A family creates a window box garden in a city apartment.

Farm, by Elisha Cooper.  Life on a family farm in the Midwest.

Caterpillar, caterpillar, by Vivan French.  Nettles aren’t just nasty weeds, they provide shelter and food for caterpillars that turn into butterflies.

The Tiny Seed, by Eric Carle.  Check for the beautifully illustrated YouTube supplement.

Yucky Worms, by Vivian French.  Grandma and child explore how earthworms help plants grow.

Good reads for grownups

The shelves are loaded with books for grownups – ideas, resources, advice.

A Child’s Garden: 60 ideas to make any garden come alive for children, by Holly Dannenmaier.

Gardening with Children, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Guide for a Greener Planet.  Ideas for 40+ garden-related projects.

Geography of Children; Why Children Need Wild Places, by Gary Paul Nabban.  Making sure your garden is “where the wild things are.”

Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife gardening with kids, by April Pulley Sayre.  Creating a garden that invites wildlife.

The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids, by Todd Christopher.

Lots of websites

Green Grandparents

Children and Nature Network  (http://www.childrenandnature.org/)

Junior Master Gardener  (http://www.jmgkids.us/)  a 4-H youth development program sponsored by Extension.

Kids Gardening  ( www.kidsgardening.org/) ‎ The National Gardening Association site.

PBS Victory Garden: Gardening with kids ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/victorygarden)  Accompanies the public television program.

National wildlife: 16 Tips for Wildlife Gardening with kids (http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2010/Wildlife-Gardening-with-Kids.aspx

Thyme 4 Kids,  http://www.herbsociety.org/resources/t4k/thyme-4-kids.html  Site sponsored by the Herb Society of America.

 

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Making Room for a Children’s Classic

Note:  Snowbound days are meant for slow thinking about ordinary things.  Yesterday’s gentle snowfall on a quiet Sunday spurred me to learn and write about books that help introduce children to the realities of poverty and hunger in our midst.  The hours I have been spending as a volunteer at Neighbors do give me a fresh take on ordinary things.  This morning my concern is the plight of homeless people faced with a foot of new fallen snow.  A piece I had written for Neighbors came to mind.  Though the piece describes a program at Neighbors, the message is universal.  Furthermore, it’s about one of my favorite stories and this entire blog is simply  about poking around……

***

One of my favorite stories of the holiday season is  Always Room for One More, written by Sorche Nic Leodhas and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian.  Based on a Scottish folktale it’s the story of a generous Scotsman, Lachie MacLachlan, who welcomes every weary traveler who passes by on a stormy night into his “wee house in the heather” where “there’s always room for one more.”

The host’s generosity is part of the story – the rest of the tale is the beautiful  thank you of his grateful guests.  It’s a warm and humorous story, complete with a musical score for singing along.  And it’s just right for the Christmas season.

When Lache extends his hand, his reward is rich.  A tinker, a tailor, a sailor, a ‘lassie’, an ‘auld’ wife, a bagpiper and others join him.  There’s dancing and singing till the house falls down!  With the help of his guests Lachie builds a bigger house, where there is ‘always room for one more.’”

The story sets a tone and is delightfully infectious.  Though shopping for toys, books, clothing, games and other holiday gifts for an adopted family is not quite the same as Lache’s experience, the spirit and the rewards are very much the same.

Many families and seniors in our community are like the weary travelers Lachie befriends.  Neighbors depends on our friends to make room in their hearts by adopting a family or senior.  As in Lachie’s stories, the rewards for all are great.

The promotion part:  This was part of a pitch for Neighbors Adopt-a-Family and Adopt-a-Senior holiday programs.  Neighbors is a “full service” social service agency – thrift shop, food shelf, tele-care, transportation, emergency assistance and much more.  It serves and is largely supported by residents of northern Dakota County — South St Paul, West St Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Lilydale and Sunfish.  If you want to know about these programs or about Neighbors in general, you can let me know or contact Neighbors directly.– info@neighborsmn.org, www.neighborsmn.org,   651 455 1508 or visit Neighbors’ new site  at 222 Grand Avenue West in South St. Paul.

Note:  Snowbound days are meant for slow thinking about ordinary things.  Yesterday’s gentle snowfall on a quiet Sunday spurred me to learn and write about books that help introduce children to the realities of poverty and hunger in our midst.  The hours I have been spending as a volunteer at Neighbors do give me a fresh take on ordinary things.  This morning my concern is the plight of homeless people faced with a foot of new fallen snow.  A piece I had written for Neighbors came to mind.  Though the piece describes a program at Neighbors, the message is universal.  Furthermore, it’s about one of my favorite stories and this entire blog is simply  about poking around……

***

One of my favorite stories of the holiday season is  Always Room for One More, written by Sorche Nic Leodhas and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian.  Based on a Scottish folktale it’s the story of a generous Scotsman, Lachie MacLachlan, who welcomes every weary traveler who passes by on a stormy night into his “wee house in the heather” where “there’s always room for one more.”

The host’s generosity is part of the story – the rest of the tale is the beautiful  thank you of his grateful guests.  It’s a warm and humorous story, complete with a musical score for singing along.  And it’s just right for the Christmas season.

When Lache extends his hand, his reward is rich.  A tinker, a tailor, a sailor, a ‘lassie’, an ‘auld’ wife, a bagpiper and others join him.  There’s dancing and singing till the house falls down!  With the help of his guests Lachie builds a bigger house, where there is ‘always room for one more.’”

The story sets a tone and is delightfully infectious.  Though shopping for toys, books, clothing, games and other holiday gifts for an adopted family is not quite the same as Lache’s experience, the spirit and the rewards are very much the same.

Many families and seniors in our community are like the weary travelers Lachie befriends.  Neighbors depends on our friends to make room in their hearts by adopting a family or senior.  As in Lachie’s stories, the rewards for all are great.

The promotion part:  This was part of a pitch for Neighbors Adopt-a-Family and Adopt-a-Senior holiday programs.  Neighbors is a “full service” social service agency – thrift shop, food shelf, tele-care, transportation, emergency assistance and much more.  It serves and is largely supported by residents of northern Dakota County — South St Paul, West St Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Lilydale and Sunfish.  If you want to know about these programs or about Neighbors in general, you can let me know or contact Neighbors directly.– info@neighborsmn.org, www.neighborsmn.org,   651 455 1508 or visit Neighbors’ new site  at 222 Grand Avenue West in South St. Paul.