April is National Poetry Month, a perfect time to seek out poems reflecting the beauty in our outdoor spaces. Poetry helps open us up to the many sensory experiences of a spring garden, giving us new ways to see things. From the chomping caterpillars and blooming bulbs to the flowering cilantro (already!) and climbing sweet pea vines, there is so much activity in my spring garden, and I love observing it all through a poetic lens.

Fantastic Read Alouds

Jamberry by Bruce Degen

This is a classic book, perfect for very young readers, packed with whimsical rhyming words and images such as “Raspberry rabbits, Brassberry band, Elephants skating on raspberry jam.” It is delightful to read aloud, and sure to inspire planting, tasting, baking and berry-picking adventures. This is also a very fun one for inspiring poetry writing: how many silly, imaginative and playful rhymes can you make with berry and jam? The illustration of a raspberry as a hot air balloon is one of my all-time favorites.

The Bunny Band by Bill Richardson and Roxanna Bikadoroff

Clever rhymes propel this lively tale starring an accomplished badger gardener, a veggie thief, and a magical bunny band. The bunnies play moonlight concerts to the garden vegetables, resulting in prize-winning onions “huge, like moose, and zucchinis, far from weeny...the size of a caboose.” With charming illustrations and a magical solution to a universal gardening problem (hungry critters and insects), this story makes me wish for a magical midnight serenade for my garden.

Celebrating School Gardens and Farmers

Our School Garden by Rick Swann and illustrated by Christy Hale

Spanning a year in a school garden, this book features prose poems paired with informational sidebars covering everything from a garden scavenger hunt to pillbugs, from compost to harvest day. Including garden riddles, a found poem, and a recipe for School Garden Stone Soup, this read offers a way to feel connected to a school garden, even during times when we are away from school.

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub and illustrated by Amy Huntington

This fun and informative collection of poems covering a day at a farmers' market, from set-up to closing time, offers readers a glimpse behind the scenes. Immersive illustrations invite readers to take their time discovering all the activity of a typical market on each spread. It’s hard to choose a favorite poem, but I especially love “Necessary Mess,” which acknowledges you can’t have a garden without a lot of dirt!

Garden Riddles

Put your garden knowledge to the test and learn some new facts, too, in these engaging riddle books. Young gardeners may enjoy reading these to their parents in hopes of stumping them! Some readers may even feel inspired to write their own riddles, in honor of their favorite garden crops.

What’s in the Garden? By Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Cris Arbo

This beautifully illustrated book features a rhyming riddle and recipe for each featured fruit and vegetable. The back of the book includes more facts and additional resources.

What am I? Vegetables by John Benzee

Kids will have fun solving these vegetable riddles! This book employs eye-catching retro-style illustrations and design around each riddle, written from the point of view of the vegetable.

To see these gardening books and more, please join me @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. And please dig into more of my book picks for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter!

P.S. Mark your calendars: Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 30! Choose a poem (or two or three), practice reading it, and share it with a family member or friend. Find a poem from a book or write your own!

Kate Rowe loves picture books, reading, gardening, cooking, and talking about all of these things! She shares picture book recommendations paired with food adventures @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. She is a writer, editor, and parent of two young book-loving garden helpers.