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Get Your Garden (and your bookshelf) Growing

by Katie Schaefer

It’s spring! It’s time for sunshine and GARDENING!  I am an enthusiastic, albeit defiant, amateur gardener. Every year, despite the size of my small city backyard garden, I try to plant as much as I can squeeze in. Every year, despite the significant amount of shade, I buy a bounty of seeds that require full sun. Things grow, but it’s not a bountiful harvest.

This year I’m keeping it simpler, hoping for more success with shade lovers. Along with my 2-year-old assistant gardener, I’ve planted bok choy, chinese cabbage, little gem lettuce, and snap peas. You know- things toddlers just LOVE eating. I plant the seeds, she eats the dirt and overwaters the plants. 

To keep my kiddo engaged with gardening while waiting for ripe and ready produce, I’m on the hunt for picture books with a green thumb. Below are some amazing options at Betty’s Books to get your kiddo excited about digging in the dirt.


This Little Kitty in the Garden Book Cover

This Little Kitty in the Garden by Karen Obuhanych

Follow along with some mischievous kitties, as they plant seeds and dig in dirt in their garden. The rhyming text is fun and quick to read, making it a great bedtime read, especially since the kitties are fast asleep on the last page. If you like this one, be sure to check out Obuhanych’s first book about these delightful kitties- This Little Kitty.


Grandma’s Roof GardenGrandma's Roof Garden Book Cover by Tang Wei

Grandma might be old, but she’s got plenty of pluck to climb the many stairs to tend to her bountiful rooftop garden. This story was inspired by Tan Wei’s cheerful and hardworking grandmother. The soft happy illustrations bring grandma and her garden to life as she toils in the dirt and shares her harvest with her community.


A Seed Will Grow Book CoverA Seed Will Grow by Sabrina Moyle and Eunice Moyle

This vibrant board book is an extremely cute introduction to the plant life cycle. Each page has fun interactive flaps and tabs to engage young readers as they see a seed transform into a plant and then fruit.



There's No Such Thing As Vegetables Book CoverThere’s No Such Thing as Vegetables by Kye Lukoff and Andrea Tsurumi

This story by Newbery Honor winner, Kyle Lukoff, explores social constructs and taxonomy in the garden using humor and a hilarious cast of talking vegetables.  Main character, Chester, heads to the community garden to gather vegetables for a salad, but according to the “vegetables”, vegetables don’t exist. Chester is quickly set straight that “vegetables” are just a variety of plant parts. This would be a fun, and sneakily informative, book to read with your older kiddos.