Friday, March 02, 2007

Seeds and Growing Things

I am not much of a gardener (that's my sister's forte), but have a son who is begging to start a garden at our "new" (it's been nearly 7 months!) house. Since I am lost in thoughts of spring these days, I decided that this would be a good time to offer up a list of books on seeds and the magic they bring.
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney - Was there any doubt that this would be the first book on my list?! Miss Rumphius vows as a child to make the world more beautiful, and after many years, she finally does.
  • From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons - I am a huge fan of Gail Gibbons. Her books are so well written and easy for kids to understand. This one is no exception. In it you'll find good information accompanied by wonderful illustrations.
  • These books in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series are standouts.

  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle - A fabulously illustrated story about the life cycle of seeds. Find out what happens to many seeds when they are released, and how they must fight to survive.
  • The Empty Pot by Demi - A long time ago in China, the Emperor decided to choose an heir by giving a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. "Whoever can show me their best in a year's time," he proclaimed, "shall succeed me to the throne!" When a young boy named Ping admits that he is the only child unable to grow a flower from the seeds, he is rewarded for his honesty.
  • The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland - When forced to leave her country, a young Vietnamese girl takes a lotus seed with her as a reminder of her past.
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert - I could name any number of books by Lois Ehlert for this list, but this one is my favorite. I simply love the spreads of flowers representing the colors in the rainbow.
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss - When a young boy plants a carrot seed, those around him tell him it won't grow, but he is rewarded for his patience and tender care.
  • The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin - When her neighbors all plant flower gardens, a young girl is disappointed that she and her mother plant ugly vegetables instead.
  • One Bean by Anne Rockwell - Watch what happens when a bean sprouts on a wet paper towel, grows in a paper cup, and is finally transplanted into a large flower pot.
  • Seeds by Ken Robbins - This is a terrific photographic nonfiction book that introduces seeds to young children.
  • Two favorites by Eve Bunting:

    • Flower Garden - A young girl and her father plant a window box as a birthday gift for her mother.
    • Sunflower House - A young boy plants sunflower seeds in a large circle. He cares for them and watches them grow into a "sunflower house." He plays in it all summer and then collects the seeds from the dying plants to sow for next year.

  • Jack's Garden by Henry Cole - A lovely story of a boy's backyard flower garden that is based on the old rhyme "This Is the House That Jack Built."
  • Glenna's Seeds by Nancy Edwards - When Glenna is given marigold seeds at school, she leaves them in a neighbor's empty flowerpot. When the neighbor brings home a few geranium plants, she sees the packet of seeds and decides to give the geraniums away to other neighbors. What starts as a random act of kindness transforms an empty street into a place full of colorful flowers.
  • The Gardener by Sarah Stewart - When her father loses his job during the depression, Lydia Grace is sent to live with her rather sour uncle. Through letters written to her family, she describes how she brightens his dreary bakery and disposition with a little dirt and a suitcase full of seeds.
  • Vegetable Garden by Douglas Florian - With beautiful watercolor illustrations, readers follow along with a family as they plant, tend and harvest a vegetable garden.
  • Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert - Okay, I can't leave this one out either. Watch as vegetable soup is grown from seed to harvest. Pair this one with The Ugly Vegetables.
It was hard not to include gardening here, even though I really set out to focus on the growth of seeds. Oh well, I guess my next list will be on gardening books for kids. Enjoy! And do send me the titles of great books I have overlooked.

P. S. - Don't miss this terrific article from Book Links entitled From Seed to Harvest: Books About Growing Food.


  1. Thanks for mentioning my book, Where Fish go in Winter! And best WISHES! with your garden. Amy G. Koss

  2. Tricia,

    Another terrific list of books!

    Here are the titles of two poetry books, both published in 2006 and nominated for Cybils, that would be great to include on your list:

    - BUSY IN THE GARDEN, written by George Shannon and illustrated by Sam Williams. This is one of the most delightful books of poetry written for very young children that I have seen in some time.

    - I HEARD IT FROM ALICE ZUCCHINI: POEMS ABOUT THE GARDEN, written by Juanita Havill and illustrated by Christine Davenier.

    A nonfiction book I really like is PUMPKIN CIRCLE: THE STORY OF A GARDEN, which was written by George Levenson. It has great photographs taken by Shmuel Thaler.

  3. What a fabulous list! I am getting excited about spring just reading your list. I think we need to plant something around here...

  4. What an overwhelmingly great list! I am going to get some of those books to read to my class after we plant some seeds. Thanks!

  5. I love this list! I am in the midst of preparing a women's retreat with the theme "Seeds of Kindness" and want to incorporate children's literature into the presentations and it looks like you have gathered together a wonderful list of titles on the topic of seeds. Thank you!
    Barbara Clark, Pendleton, OR

  6. I'm preparing a unit on growing a garden and the environment for first grade. Thank you for all these great book titles.