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Grow Your Relationship with Your Grandchildren by Reading Books About Gardens

By Eve Panzer May 19, 2021 Family

Below I will share some books to pique the interest of your grandchildren in gardening. These are not how-to books but rather engaging fiction and non-fiction books related to gardening. They provide a jumping-off point to talk about or create a garden with your grandchildren.

Growing your relationship with your grandchildren can be like tending a garden. Each grandchild is unique and, like plants, has different needs. Gardening is a great activity to share with your grandchildren because there are many aspects to it, and one is sure to appeal to your grandchildren – and you.

Some children will enjoy digging in the mud and getting dirty. Others will be curious about the science of plants and insects. Many may enjoy the beauty of the plants and wish to draw them, photograph them, press them, or learn to arrange them in a floral arrangement.

If you grow vegetables or fruit, you can harvest them, discover or create recipes, and cook together. Or if you are like me and don’t have a green thumb, you can share a good book about gardening. Below are my recommendations, which include books for children with any of these interests.

Ages 0-4

Who’s in the Garden?

Who’s in the Garden? is a large-format board book that includes a peek-a-boo feature to engage young children. The question “Who’s coming to see how my garden grows?” snakes across the page with a peek-a-boo circle that hints at the answer (“Rabbits hop, hop, hopping,” or “Frogs leap, leap, leaping.”). The answer includes repetition, great for early vocabulary development.

Act out the hopping, leaping, digging, or pecking in the book with your grandchildren. Pages include bright and cheerfully colored, chunky-styled illustrations filled with fascinating details to share with your grandchildren. Incredibly gorgeous is the double-page spread depicting morning, noon, and night – and another topic to discuss.

Lift and Look Garden

In the Lift and Look Garden, you and your grandchildren will join the little mouse as she journeys through the garden flowers and grass. Your grandchildren will “…discover hungry birds, green speckled frogs, and buzzing bees…” along the way. You will find many details to talk about.

This book is designed for both the little ones as well as toddlers. The peek-through feature is perfect for those too young to handle the book. And for the older ones ready to turn pages, the “chunky gatefold flaps” make it easy. Colorful and fun illustrations are engaging to young eyes.

Ages 3-8

Grandpa’s Garden

Grandpa’s Garden is perfect to share with your grandchildren since it focuses on the relationship between a grandfather and grandson. Take a journey through the seasons with Billy and his grandpa and get some gardening tips along the way.

There are so many reasons to love this book. The text is lyrical and rich in vocabulary. For example, the author describes spring like this: “Leaves uncrumple, soft as silk, on waking trees.” The pictures are colorful, inviting, and cheerful. And so much information is packed into this picture book.

The book teaches about seasonal preparation, provides conversation starters, and is great for emotional social learning. This can be a beautiful preliminary handbook if you want to create your own garden.

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden

Secrets of the Vegetable Garden is one of a series of books by Usborne called Shine-A-Light. Using a flashlight or holding the book up to a light will reveal the “hidden picture” on each page. In this book, “If you look closely between stalks, beneath the leaves, and under the soil, you will spot the animal and plants living there.”

There is a tiny realm full of surprises. Sprinkled throughout the book are plenty of facts, and if you want to dig deeper, endnotes provide more details. A great way to introduce your grandchildren to gardening while piquing their curiosity.

Ages 5-10

The Beeman

The Beeman opens with a sweet rhyming poem about bees. Then, mimicking the style of The House That Jack Built, the grandson follows his grandfather, the beekeeper, as he tends to his bees. Bits of information about bees and the process of beekeeping are sprinkled throughout the book, with key terms bolded.

These tidbits are discussed in fascinating detail at the end of the book. The illustrations are playful, and pages are not text-heavy, making it easy to share with younger children too.

This book can lead to so many activities with your grandchildren. For example, visiting a beekeeper in your area is fun and educational. Bees are vital to the health of our planet and are a relevant topic to discuss with your grandchildren.

Did you know that the taste of honey varies with the environment in which it was made? Have a honey-tasting activity with your grandchildren. Your farmer’s market or specialty grocery should have kinds of honey from different locations that will vary widely in taste.

The book includes a recipe for honey and apple muffins you can bake together. However, discovering your own recipes for honey can be a sweet adventure too!

Kids’ Garden

Back by popular demand and newly updated, the Kids’ Garden activity card deck will provide you and your grandchildren hours of garden-related fun! The deck contains 50 easy to follow activity cards that invite children to look at nature in a new way.

The deck comes with an 8-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety. Watch roots appear and see how they differ; take a peek into what is living below ground; or have a nature scavenger hunt. Take your grandchildren outside and away from the screen to get learning and get dirty!

The Wild Garden and Butterflies & Bugs

The Wild Garden: rub-down transfer activity book and Butterflies & Bugs: rub-down transfer activity book are unique keepsake books are perfect for the creative grandchild who would rather not get down and dirty in the garden.

“Half of the spread is colored, and one can add rub-downs; the other half is line drawings that one can color and add rub-downs to as well.” Even adults enjoy these, so you may want to order two!

The Wild Garden includes the names of the flowers. In the Butterflies & Bugs you will find scenes including a “… jungle, pond, meadow, honeybee garden, butterfly house,” and more!

Have you gardened with your grandchildren? What worked, what didn’t? Do you have any children’s gardening books that you love? Please share your favorite activities and books.

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The Author

Eve Panzer, a retired school librarian, is passionate about children's literature. Through her Barefoot Librarian business, she sells quality children's books and writes book reviews for First Chapter Plus, Readers Views, and BlueInk Review. She has a Masters in Library Science and has been a children's literature professional since 1999.

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