Are you interested in connecting the garden with your literacy goals and activities? Here you will find our favorite garden and food-focused children’s books and their basic descriptions. Many of these titles can be found in your local library!
Seeds Go, Seeds Grow by Weakland
(Non-fiction) ESY Pittsburgh’s favorite book! A lesson in seed needs and growth for children with sharp, close-up photographs of seeds, seedlings and plants.
Urban Roosts by Bash
(Non-fiction) Account of birds and their different habitats in the city. Very Pittsburgh appropriate! Excellent details and illustrations. Involves animals in the garden.
The Curious Garden by Brown
(Fiction) A magical account of a little boy who takes his smoke-stack city from bleak to full of garden growth. Speaks to children being able to make a positive change using gardens.
How Groundhog’s Garden Grew by Cherry
(Fiction) Beautifully illustrated and detailed story about Squirrel teaching Little Groundhog how to grow a garden. Well-rounded information about the annual cycle of the garden, including sharing food. Highly recommended.
Two Old Potatoes and Me by Coy
(Fiction) A girl and her father plant potatoes in the garden. Good details about how to grow potatoes in the garden. Nice parent-child story.
Bread is for Eating by Gershator
(Fiction) Bilingual story about how we get bread. Beautifully shows growing, harvesting, grinding, and selling of wheat and flour.
Eating the Alphabet by Ehlert
(Non-fiction) Awesome alphabet book of very diverse vegetables and fruits – beautifully illustrated. Glossary tells details about each fruit/vegetable mentioned in alphabet.
Waiting for Wings by Ehlert
(Non-fiction) Follows caterpillars through their lifespan. Awesome art. Good, detailed butterfly diagrams in back of the book.
Cucumber Soup/Sopa de Pepino by Krudwig
(Fiction) Spanish language book about all the insects in the garden working together to move a cucumber. A counting book, gives wonderful overview of what each insect contributes does (for the garden and otherwise).
Tops and Bottoms by Stevens
(Fiction) A fun and silly tale of a bear and a rabbit growing crops together on a farm. Teaches students that plants produce a variety of edible food both under and above the soil. There are many free teaching tools available for this book online.
Pick, Pull, Snap! Where Once a Flower Bloomed by Schaefer
(Non-fiction) Great information about pollination, fruiting plants and how plants work. Attractive illustrations with fold out pages.
Up, Down and Around by Ayers
(Fiction) Simple, sweet story about a variety of plants that grow “up”, grow “down” and grow “around” the ground and other plants. Great to act out with students as you read.
3rd Grade – 5th Grade
How Did That Get In My Lunchbox: The Story of Food by Butterworth (Non-fiction) Beautifully illustrated book with realistic depictions of the industrial agriculture system in place in the U.S. and globally. Great details about where your food is growing and who is growing, processing, and packaging it, as well as good vocabulary words and an index.
Oh Say Can You Seed? By Worth
(Non-fiction) The Cat in the Hat takes the reader through a very informative introduction to the needs of seeds and the parts of a plant. Useful glossary.
The First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew by Gourley (Non-ficiton) A sneak peek into the garden Michelle Obama planted at the White House complete with president-approved recipes. The book includes information on other first-lady gardeners as well as reasons why Mrs. Obama believes all kids should garden.
Jump into Science: Dirt by Tomecek
(Non-fiction) Wonderfully colorful illustrations paired with great facts all about soil: composition, earthworms/microbes, building soil and the history of soil. Experiment at the end.
Compost Critter by Lavis
(Non-fiction) Very, very long, but full of good information and large close-up pictures of the critters in your compost pile. Has a good section on frost and winter and the compost pile, too.
Honeybees by Heiligman
(Non-fiction) Lots of accurate honeybee facts, nicely told and illustrated. Fun “dance like a honeybee” activity in the back.
Loaves of Fun by Harbison (Non-fiction)
A long history, recipe book about bread. Good resource, traces the consumption of different kinds of bread through time and across the world.
The Popcorn Book by dePaola
(Non-fiction) Very fun, interesting facts about popcorn and its history. Simultaneous description of how to make popcorn. Mediocre illustrations.
Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Branley
(Non-fiction) Tackles complex subject of earth’s tilt and the creation of seasons across the world well. Nice illustrations, good narrative, practical example of an orange as the earth, sun as flashlight that could be used in class.
Master Davey and the Magic Tea House by Chodakiewitz
When the precious Blue Tiger Tea is about to disappear forever Hopper and Camellia set out on a grand adventure. Will they have the courage to unlock clues, face a tiger, and save the tea? This story dabbles with the process of making tea and noticing different aromas.