Spring is in the air! It’s a great time to think about gardening, especially with children. There are many wonderful picture books to introduce young readers to gardening. Here are a few of my favorites, for toddlers to new readers, that help us spot signs of spring, learn all about seeds, dream up our best spring gardens, and get inspired to plant.

Hello, Spring

and then it’s spring, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

A young gardener anticipates spring and watches closely for signs of its arrival in this beautiful, poetic, quietly funny book. After lots of brown days, then planting seeds, and then some rain, and then waiting, and more waiting (and possibly some bears stomping in the garden), finally, green and… Spring! Have you ever heard a “greenish hum”? This story will encourage you to put your ear very close to the ground and close your eyes and listen for it. Do you hear it? What signs of spring do you spot in your garden?

All About Seeds

A Seed is Sleepy, written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Did you ever think about how humans share some qualities with seeds? We are both thirsty and hungry, clever and adventurous, sleepy and then awake! This book shows us an impressive variety of seeds, and we are left with the awareness that they are 100% amazing! It’s interesting to look at the seeds we find in nature and at the seeds we plant in our gardens with a knowledge and understanding of how they grow and flourish.

The Carrot Seed, written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Crockett Johnson

This classic shows what’s needed after planting seeds: patience, watering, weeding, and nurturing. Carrots are so much fun to grow (and to harvest), and this very short story, with a big surprise at the end, follows a little boy as he takes very good care of his carrot seed.

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

This interactive rhyming book invites readers to plant some zinnia seeds—pressing on the page to plant the seeds, tapping the cloud for rain, clapping for sun, wiggling fingers for watering, and more. Through these engaging activities, young readers get an introduction to the many ways they can help in a garden. Can you spot the ladybug in each picture? The last page of the book shares additional information about planting, pollinators, and insects in the garden.

Spring Garden Dreams

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

A little girl helps her mother water, weed, and chase away rabbits in the garden. She appreciates her mother’s garden, but she also dreams of what her own garden would be like. No weeds! Magical color-changing sunflowers! Chocolate bunnies to eat, instead of bunnies eating her garden lettuce! A jelly bean bush that grows from planting a jelly bean seed! This one is a lot of fun to read and then talk about our dreams for our own gardens.

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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 lovers.