Each year April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day, which is a wonderful awareness and celebration of children’s books. We rejoice in the many books written about gardening, farming, and the outdoors. The importance of introducing young children to growing food and enjoying outside is immeasurable. When children learn about outdoor customs, soil, plants, water, and animals, they discover natural science concepts they can use life long. Watching and waiting patiently while the planted seed grows into a sprout, to a seedling, to a plant with small leaves, and finishing with a flower, fruit, or vegetable are akin to birth, infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood looking forward to an awesome future.
One of the finest ways to bond and support childhood development is to introduce food and farm product cultivation through books. Imagine the stories about fingers in the soil, the first bite into fruit off a vine, or feeding carrot to a horse. Listen to the many questions about where food comes from, the sounds of a chicken, and fruit or vegetable. Children benefit from knowing how food ends up on their plate, how things grow, and who does all the hard work to feed them healthy, nutritious, and tasty bites.
Children’s books about growing food include lessons on responsibility, preparation, caring for plants and animals, outdoor safety, awareness about natural cycles, and appreciation of our environment. There are countless traditionally published garden and farming children’s books to be found by a quick internet search. Here, we share hidden gems with diverse characters written by diverse authors.
Zora’s Garden by Rae Chesney is a charming fictional fact-based garden and storytelling book featuring a young Zora Neale Hurston in her Eatonville, Florida garden. Read in historical voice, “Now some barely get off de ground and some just reachin’ up like dese here plants” makes the expressions as visual as the wonderful and bright colored illustrations by Rae Chesny
The Old Truck by brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey is a loveable story about an old red truck and a little girl on a farm. The truck is worn out over time and rusts in the field. The little girl grows to run the farm and restores the truck back to life. The soft colors and whimsical retro design are ideal for toddlers through pre-schoolers.
Fern and Ginger by Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance members Kathy Anderson and Karen Bowlding tells adventures in foraging, gardening, and farming settings. The siblings enjoy the outdoors while they learn from their Grandma and multi-generational landowner Farmer Sass. Creative colorful illustrations compliment lessons on edible wild plants, farm vegetables, and seeds. Home (karenbowlding.net)