How Does Your Garden Grow? Gardens and Gardening in Children’s Literature

Summer is here at last! Long, sunny days are a great time to get outside and explore nature –even if it’s just in your own backyard. While it’s a little late to start a full-scale vegetable garden, this list of books may give you some great ideas for other fun things to do in the garden this summer. It contains how-to gardening books for kids and some resources for teachers on incorporating gardens into the curriculum, plus picture books and novels about gardens and gardening for readers of all ages to enjoy.

To find more books on these topics in the library catalog, use the subject terms provided at the beginning of each section.
How-To Books about Gardens and Gardening
Gardens—Juvenile literature
Gardening—Juvenile literature

Eclare, Melanie.
A Harvest of Color: Growing a Vegetable Garden. 2002.
Six young neighbors plant a vegetable garden together, recording their work along the way, then celebrate with a salad made from their own produce at the end of the summer.
[Education Storage S.635.083 Ec61h]

Maas, Robert.
Garden. 1998.
Discusses the beauty and harmony of gardens, the different kinds, and how to care for them.
[Education Storage S.635.0222 M112g]

McCorquodale, Elizabeth.
Kids in the Garden: Growing Plants for Food and Fun. 2010.
A fun and accessible guide for children to use on their own or with adults, Kids in the Garden encourages children to learn about gardening, healthy eating, and caring for the environment. Includes step-by-step instructions and photos throughout.
[Prairie Research Institute 635 M459k]

Pupeza, Lori Kinstad.
Gardening [Checkerboard Science Library] 2002.
The six books in this series contain information about choosing and caring for plants in different types of gardens, including Flower Gardens, Indoor Gardens, Organic Gardens, Patio Gardens, Vegetable Gardens, and Wildflower Gardens.
[Education Storage]

Winckler, Suzanne.
Planting the Seed: A Guide to Gardening. 2002.
In this informative how-to-guide, readers will learn the secrets behind gardening, and discover firsthand what goes into designing, planting, caring for, and harvesting an organic garden.
[Education S Collection S.635.0484 W721p]
Gardens and Gardening in the Curriculum
School gardens
Botany—Study and teaching

Bucklin-Sporer, Arden and Rachel Kathleen Pringle.
How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers. 2010.
This terrific guide is filled with detailed, practical guidelines for organizing and running a school garden. Creating a plan, raising money, building the garden, connecting the garden to curriculum, and how to prepare the soil, plant, and harvest are among the topics.
[Prairie Research Institute 635 B856h]

Gaylie, Victoria.
The Learning Garden: Ecology, Teaching, and Transformation. 2009.
Gaylie describes the “learning garden” she implemented at her institution (U. of British Columbia Okanagan), a land stewardship project around which she built a teacher-training curriculum uniting ecological principles with education. The final sections contain planning advice and activities for building and applying a learning garden in a K-12 setting.
[Education 372.357 G256l]

Jurenka, Nancy Allen and Rosanne J. Blass.
Beyond the Bean Seed: Gardening Activities for Grades K-6. 1996.
Have your students experience the thrill of life and growth through gardening, book-sharing, and other activities. Lessons integrate gardening, children’s literature, and language arts through creative activities that that include poetry, word play, and recipes.
[Education Curriculum CURR. 635 TEAIP1996]
Picture Books about Gardens and Gardening
Gardens–Juvenile fiction
Gardening–Juvenile fiction

Bunting, Eve.
Flower Garden. 1994.
Helped by her father, a young girl prepares a flower garden as a birthday surprise for her mother.
[Education S Collection SE. B886fl]

Ehlert, Lois.
Planting a Rainbow. 1988.
A mother and daughter plant a rainbow of flowers in the family garden.
[Education S Collection Q.SE. EH56P]

Fleming, Candace.
Muncha, Muncha, Muncha. 2002.
After planting the garden he has dreamed of for years, Mr. McGreely tries to find a way to keep some persistent bunnies from eating all his vegetables.
[Education S Collection SE. F629m]

Fogliano, Julie.
And Then It’s Spring. 2012.
Simple text reveals the anticipation of a boy who, having planted seeds while everything around is brown, fears that something has gone wrong until, at last, the world turns green.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books SE. F689a]

Gourley, Robbin.
First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew. 2011.
Tells the history of vegetable gardening at the White House from Eleanor Roosevelt to Michelle Obama, concluding with a list of favorite White House recipes.
[Education S Collection S.712.09753 G743f]

Grigsby, Susan.
In the Garden with Doctor Carver. 2010.
A fictionalized account of how plant scientist George Washington Carver came to an Alabama school and taught the children how to grow plants and reap the rewards of nature’s bounty.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. G878i]

Henkes, Kevin.
My Garden. 2010.
After helping her mother weed, water, and chase the rabbits from their garden, a young girl imagines her dream garden complete with jellybean bushes, chocolate rabbits, and tomatoes the size of beach balls.
[Education S Collection, Center for Children’s Books SE. H389my]

Matthies, Janna.
The Goodbye Cancer Garden. 2011.
When a mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, she and her family plant a garden and watch it grow through the seasons as she undergoes treatments and gets better.
[Education S Collection SE. M433g]

Smith, Lane.
Grandpa Green. 2011.
A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. Sm618gr]

Zoefeld, Kathleen Weidner.
Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard. 2012.
Depicts a family of four who make their garden their summer home as they prepare the soil, plant seeds, water the garden, and watch for a harvest of vegetables.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. Z72s]
Novels about Gardens and Gardening

Burnett, Frances Hodgson.
The Secret Garden. 2010.
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden. Originally published 1911.
[Education S Collection S. B934s 2010]

Kephart, Beth.
Nothing But Ghosts. 2009.
After her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Katie copes with her grief by working in the garden of an old estate, where she becomes intrigued by the story of a reclusive millionaire, while her father, an art restorer, manages in his own way to come to terms with the death of his wife.
[Center for Children’s Books S. K441n]

Kochenderfer, Lee.
The Victory Garden. 2002.
Hoping to contribute to the war effort during World War II, eleven-year-old Teresa organizes her friends to care for an ill neighbor’s victory garden.
[Education Storage, Center for Children’s Books S.K811v]

McKinley, Robin.
Rose Daughter. 1997.
The center of the Beast’s palace, the glittering glasshouse that brings Beauty both comfort and delight in her strange new environment, is filled with leafless brown rosebushes. But deep within this enchanted world, new life, at once subtle and strong, is about to awaken.
[Education Storage, Center for Children’s Books S.M2152r]

Potter, Ellen.
The Humming Room. 2012.
Twelve-year-old orphan Roo Fanshaw is sent to live with an uncle she never knew in a largely uninhabited mansion on Cough Rock Island and discovers a wild river boy, an invalid cousin, and the mysteries of a hidden garden. Inspired by the classic The Secret Garden.
[Center for Children’s Books S. P852h]