Planting the Seeds : Gardening Books for PK-5

I live in Minnesota, and most people up here are thinking about starting their gardens. Only thinking about it, mind you—it’s still only the first part of April.

One year I remember being so excited about our warm weather in early May that we planted our garden way before Memorial Day. We were so proud! Little bits of green were poking out of the ground, giving us hope for early veggies that year.

We should have known better.

Before the end of May, we had had quite a few frosty evenings, and our little seedlings were lost. We had to plant the garden all over again.

Below are some recent books about planning and planting your gardens. For those of you living near me, you’ve still got plenty of time!

These titles are for preschoolers and primary students:

Charlie's Dirt Day Lola Plants a Garden Rosario's Fig Tree Square Cat ABC Super Simple Kitchen Gardens

Charlie’s Dirt Day by Andrew Larsen (ill. by Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli). 9781554553341. 2015. Gr PK-2.
Why are all of Charlie’s neighbors heading? He and his dad follow them to the park to find nothing there but a big pile of dirt. But this is not just any dirt! Readers will learn along with Charlie about the benefits of using compost in a garden.

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn (ill. by Rosalind Beardshaw). 9781580896948. 2015. Gr PK-K.
Lola loves to read, especially her book of garden poems—and she decides she wants a garden of her own. Her mother takes Lola to the library and helps her select which flowers she wants to plant—and then off they go to buy seeds. After the flowers have grown, Lola invites her friends to a picnic to show off her garden.

Rosario’s Fig Tree by Charis Wahl (ill. by Luc Melanson). 9781554983414. 2015. Gr PK-2.
As a young girl watches her elderly neighbor care for his garden, she is amazed at how much he knows about seeds and watering and harvesting. She calls him a “garden magician.” One year he adds a fig tree and shares the fruit with his neighbors, and in the fall he buries the tree and leaves it beneath the snow. What has he done?! The girl is surprised to see what happens in the spring. This is a nice garden book about something other than fruits and vegetables.

Square Cat ABC by Elizabeth Schoonmaker. 9781442498952. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Eula the square cat is working in her garden when a hungry blue mouse pops by, and the story that follows is an unconventional introduction to the alphabet. The mouse and the cat discuss their favorite veggies in a charming tale that travels from A to Z.

Super Simple Kitchen Gardens and Super Simple Salad Gardens (Super Simple Gardening) by Alex Kuskowski. 9781624035258 / 9781624035265. 2015. Gr. K-3.
Learn to grow plants for salads and for cooking in these two books from the Super Simple Gardening series. Each project includes step-by-step directions and at least nine photos. SLJ calls this series “strong” and “original.”

And check out these books for intermediate elementary students:

300 Step by Step Cool Stuff to Grow Growing New Plants Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book

300 Step-by-Step Cooking & Gardening Projects for Kids by Nancy McDougall & Jenny Hendy. 9781861477071. 2012. Gr K-6.
This excellent book of cooking and gardening projects can be used at home, daycare, and school. Younger children will need adult help, but older elementary students should be able to do many of these fun and educational projects on their own. This book is only in hardcover now, but will be coming out in paperback in July.

Cool Stuff to Grow by Stephanie Turnbull. 9781625881885. 2015. Gr 2-5.
Kids will learn much about gardening, from starting plants with seeds in the spring to cooking and decorating with the plants they have grown. The paperback version of this book of the Cool Stuff series will be out in September.

Growing New Plants by Jennifer Colby. 9781631880797. 2015. Gr 2-5.
The 21st Century Junior Library : Plants series has new, revised titles, including this one on how to start and grow plants. I consider this book to be more of an informational book than the others on the list, and it would be a good choice in science class.

The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book : Fun Projects for All Seasons by Kari Cornell. 9781467726474. 2015. Gr 4-8.
As the title says, this book isn’t only for the planting season, but provides projects for all year round. Since many of the plants can be grown in containers, the book is an excellent choice for urban areas. Step-by-step instructions for planting, growing, and harvesting fruits, vegetables, and flowers are included.

Here are some additional titles:

Daisy’s Big Dig by Angie Morgan. 9781847804631. 2015. Gr K-2.

The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons. 9780823432042. 2015. Gr PK-3.

How a Seed Grows (Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science, Level 1) by Helene J. Jordan (ill. by Loretta Krupinski). 9780062381880. August 2015 reissue. Gr PK-2.

It’s Our Garden : From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona. 9780763676919. 2013. Gr K-3. (out in paperback in August 2015)

Old Manhattan Has Some Farms : E – I – E – I – Grow! by Susan Lendroth (ill. by Kate Endle). 9781580895729. 2014. Gr PK-2.

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