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Your garden bed may be covered with snow and temperatures may be freezing, but that doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about gardening. In fact, the winter season is an ideal time to gather a stack of gardening books and settle in for cozy afternoons of reading with kids. Start planning your spring and summer garden, tackle an indoor gardening project, and study up on seeds with the following helpful books for young readers and gardeners.
Three Great Guides
Plant, Sow, Make, & Grow: Mud-tastic Activities for Budding Gardeners by Esther Coombs
If you and your young gardeners like the idea of building a bug house, making a sunflower-head bird feeder, and watching a bean seed grow in your window, you will appreciate this colorful illustrated guide to gardening that features lots of creative, approachable projects. It is full of helpful tips on getting started, making a planting plan, and plotting activities by season. You’ll find ideas for things you can do now to get ahead to be ready for spring planting, such as saving toilet paper rolls to use for seed starters.
Easy Peasy: Gardening for Kids illustrated by Aitch and written by Kirsten Bradley, from Little Gestalten
Does a bean fort sound like fun? Does building an Air Bee and Bee to welcome friendly bugs and helpful insects sound intriguing? This guide is full of these fun project ideas and more. For instance, if you are wishing for something green to nurture now, learn to plant an indoor herb garden and grow edible sweet potato vines in your window.
Gardening with Children, Brooklyn Botanic Garden Guides for a Greener Planet
Constructing a root-view garden and putting on a garden puppet show are just a few of the ideas in this community-centered book. With an emphasis on the inherent interdependence of plants, animals and people, this guide also includes tips for caregivers, a glossary, and plenty of garden-related indoor and outdoor projects you can take on now.
Carrots Like Peas and Other Fun Facts by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Aaron Spurgeon
If it’s too cold to be working in your garden, take some time to catch up on related reading. This one is packed with interesting facts that are fun and informative, so that when the weather is warmer, you can head out to your garden armed with helpful information to guide you in your planting. For example, carrots and peas are considered companion plants; they help each other grow, so plan accordingly in your garden design. This book will delight young fact lovers and covers not only fruits and vegetables, but also other favorite foods like pizza, peanut butter, and popsicles.
Under the Ground, Under the Snow
Carrots Grow Under the Ground by Anne Rooney
Carrots are fun and easy to grow, and this book offers a close look at how carrots grow, from seed to flower. Did you know that carrots grow in a rainbow of colors? Have you ever yanked one out of the ground at harvest time? Have you seen the top of a carrot plant bloom into pretty white flowers? This book will show you all that and inspire you to leave plenty of space for carrots in your garden.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Full of hope and wonder and curiosity, this is a lovely story that observes the transformational power of gardens, with anticipation of plants awakening from under a blanket of snow. I love how Liam, the young curious gardener, prepares for spring. “Rather than waste his winter worrying about the garden,” he reads a book (the same book he is reading on the cover, carrying in a wheelbarrow with other gardening supplies, and holding open while he sings to his plants!). Also be sure to check out this beautiful song by children’s musician Emily Arrow inspired by this book.
Busy Seeds on the Move
Planting the Wild Garden written by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
Even though we may not be outside planting seeds this time of year, it doesn’t mean seeds aren’t being planted. This book shows us the amazing ways that wind, water, birds, animals, and plants all play a role in carrying seeds to new spots: a stream carries seeds to new banks, squirrels bury acorns, and seeds catch rides on muddy boots or an animal’s thick coat, all contributing to the planting of the “wild garden.”
Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler
Miss Maple, a fairy godmother of sorts who catches rides on birds and uses an upside-down leaf as an umbrella, takes in orphan seeds, nurturing them until they are ready for planting. She brings them on field trips, reads them flower tales at bedtime, and eventually sends them out into the world to take root, reminding them that “even the grandest of trees had to grow up from the smallest of seeds.” With lovely illustrations, including a page of labeled seeds of all shapes, colors and sizes, this whimsical story invites readers to imagine a seed’s journey.
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.