April is National Garden Month

April supposedly brings ‘showers’ (in Minnesota, more like snow showers), which in turn will bring ‘May flowers.’ In order to get those beautiful May flowers, you need to start gardening now since April is National Garden Month! Spring has been a long time coming and I am so excited to share these fresh new garden books with you!

All Kinds of Gardens is a fantastic introduction to gardens for children. This title includes information about creepy-crawlies, tools and compost as well as how to start your own garden. Kids will enjoy the colorful photography as well as the straightforward text. They will also find a new confidence in reading with the introduction of new words on each page. A fantastic edition to any gardening collection for ‘lil newbies!

Blue Roses is a moving tale about a very special bond between a Native American girl and her grandfather. Her ‘Papa’ teaches her about gardens and life as they tend the garden together. When Rosalie is 10, her grandfather passes away unexpectedly. She comforts herself by knowing that she dreamed of him in a superb garden with blue roses. Lo and behold, the next time she visits her grandfather’s grave, his headstone is covered in blue roses. This book would be perfect to share with a child who has recently lost a loved one or shares a special relationship with a grandparent or older adult.

Grow: A Novel in Verse is about a neighborhood garden in Minneapolis that once was a vacant lot. Twelve-year-old Kate narrates this free-verse story about how she finds comfort in being involved in her neighborhood garden. She is stressed about being overweight and her family life, and is blessed to find support from Big Berneetha while helping in the garden. The garden flourishes as more and more people begin to work there, which brings a wonderful message of community. Fanciful line drawings will enhance the text and make this story even more heartwarming to whoever reads it.

Josias, Hold the Book is a magnificent story about Josias, a Haitian boy that does not attend school. His responsibility is to tend the garden, which in turn will help support his family. The only problem is that the beans in Josias’ garden will not grow. Frustrated, he asks one of his friends that ‘holds the book’ (goes to school) if the answer might be in a book. A schoolteacher helps him find the answer, which in turn motivates Josias to ask permission to go to school. Children will see a new perspective on a different culture in which schooling is considered a privilege. The author’s note gives more information on why typical Haitians do not normally attend school and what a typical primary school day is like.

Bibliography:

All Kinds of Gardens. Mari Schuh. 2011.

Blue Roses. Linda Boyden. 2011.

Grow. Juanita Havill. 2008.

Josias, Hold the Book. Jennifer Elvgren. 2011.

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