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Favorite Gardening Picture Books for Kids | Booklist

You’ll love this booklist of favorite gardening picture books for kids. It’s filled with both fabulous stories and non-fiction titles–all about gardening and nature!

A selection of book covers of gardening picture books for kids.

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Which Book Should I Start With?

There are so many wonderful picture books about gardening that I thought the topic deserved its own booklist. Maybe you are studying plants for school, or perhaps starting a garden of your own. Either way, you’ll love these picture books for kiddos!

My very favorite book about gardening for kids is Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt (by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal). I love that it covers so much more than seeds and flowers–it truly shows just how diverse and magical a garden truly is.

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver (by Gene Barretta, illustrated by Frank Morrison) is also a top pick. Since it’s a biography, it’s not strictly a “garden” book, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The illustrations alone make it easily one of my top picture books of 2020.

What Age Range Are These Books For?

Ages 4-8 is generally the range for the average picture book. Usually you can stretch that age range a year or two either direction. If there a specific book that is significantly different than that range, I have noted it in in the individual review below.

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Favorite Gardening Picture Books for Kids | Booklist

A Seed is Sleepy book cover.

A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long

Alongside Sylvia Long’s beautiful watercolors, we learn that, “A seed is sleepy.” “A seed is secretive.” “A seed is fruitful.”

We learn about fruits (like papaya, strawberries, blueberries) that keep seeds cozy until they have found the right place to grow. We learn about big seeds and small seeds. Seeds that fly with the wind and seeds that travel the ocean. A fantastic nature picture book.

And Then It's Spring book cover.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

“Please do not stomp here—there are seeds and they are trying”. Probably my favorite quote from this sweet picture book all about the anticipation of spring.

A young boy surveys a brown winter-worn world and then goes about planting a garden. Before long the promise of spring is a reality. The illustrations are full of charm—such as the dog, rabbit, and turtle that accompany the main character as he works on his garden.

The Curious Garden book cover.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Watching this garden as it curiously expands and grows throughout the city is magical. The illustrations are imaginative and pair perfectly with the text. In the author’s note at the end, Peter Brown explains that there really is a curious garden. Above Manhattan, an old elevated railway (now abandoned) is home to a lush garden. How wonderful is that! Full review here.

Flower Garden book cover.

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Though this is an older book (published in 2000), it is still such a lovely and unique gardening story. A young girl and her father buy all the supplies to build her mother a window box full of garden joy. The story is short, but sweet, as we watch a loving family put together a special gift.

The Gardener book cover.

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small

The Gardener is a series of letters written by a young girl who has traveled to a drab city (to stay with a drab uncle) and seeks to bring color with her suitcase full of seeds. You’ll love Lydia Grace Finch’s sense of humor and overflowing rooftop garden. Not to mention the impeccable illustrations that accompany this Great Depression era story. This young girl brings hope and joy wherever she goes, even in a season of greatest hardship. Tears might flow by the end! Beautiful story that deserves a place on your bookshelves.  

Green on Green book cover.

Green on Green by Dianne White, illustrated by Felicita Sala

This book is not about gardening, but it’s such a lovely walk through nature’s seasons with a sweet family and delightful poetry, I couldn’t help but include this 2020 release.

“Lemonade petals.⁣
Sunflakes between.⁣
Lemonade, sunflakes, yellow on green.”⁣


Full review here.

A favorite gardening picture book, The Honeybee.

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

“Bzzz…What’s that? Do you hear it? You’re near it. It’s closer, it’s coming, it’s buzzing, it’s humming…” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The rhyme, vocabulary, and eye-catching illustrations of this picture book combine to tell the tale of the honeybee and the process of making honey. I love reading rhyming picture books like this one to my toddler as she is entranced by them. And the little honeybees are so cute swirling about the pages! Full review here.⠀⠀⠀

In My Garden book cover.

In My Garden by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Philip Stead

From the publisher, “This quiet story celebrates the simple joys found close to home, and the importance of sharing those experiences with the ones you love. A perfect story time pick for any season, In My Garden explores the natural marvels of the world around us and encourages young readers to think about what they love best throughout the year.”

In the Garden book cover -- a favorite gardening picture book for kids.

In The Garden by Emma Giuliani

From the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press:

“From season to season, children follow the life of a garden as each page reveals new treasures hiding under lift-up flaps. Peek inside the curious tulip bulb and discover the peas inside a peapod. Watch a ladybug help with pesky aphids and search for ripe strawberries under the leaves. Rich in detail, Emma Giuliani’s bright, immersive illustrations and flaps in fantastic shapes, sizes, and colors carry the reader into the enchanted world of gardening.”

Lit for Little Hands: The Secret Garden book cover.

Lit for Little Hands: The Secret Garden adapted by Brooke Jorden, illustrated by David Miles.

A highly interactive board book with flaps to lift, wheels to spin, tabs to pull out, etc. This board book is a an adaption of The Secret Garden for little ones. My favorite page in this book is where you shift a page to reveal a tree in bloom. So fun! I’ll note that a few of the elements seem a bit incomplete or don’t quite match the scene they are part of. Suggested age is 3-6. Full review here.

Lola Plants a Garden book cover - one of our favorite gardening picture books!

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw⁣

Short sentences and a simple story makes Lola Plants a Garden just right for toddlers (ages 2-5). Lola is such an endearing character. Littles will eagerly turn pages as they wait alongside her for her garden to grow.⁣

In this book (part of the “Lola Reads” series), Lola is inspired to plant a garden when she reads “Mary, Mary” in her book of garden poems. The book concludes with a celebratory batch of cupcakes when Lola’s friends come to see her garden.

Miss Maple's Seeds book cover.

Miss Maple’s Seeds, by Eliza Wheeler

Miss Maple’s Seeds is the story of a tiny woman who flies on a bird and gathers and cares for orphan seeds—seeds that never got planted during springtime. She lives in the sweetest little house with a winding stairway wrapped around a maple tree. She takes the tiny seeds on field trips, reads them bedtime stories, and waits. Soon it is time to let them go. “Take care my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A thoughtful story that captures the importance and value of every living thing.

Mossy by Jan Brett, book cover.

Mossy by Jan Brett

Mossy, a turtle, has a most extravagant garden growing upon her shell. When an eager doctor of science (whose Edwardian dress clues us into the time period of the story) discovers this extraordinary turtle, she possesses Mossy for exhibition in her museum. ⠀⠀

Readers will learn what happens next and why nature is best left where we have found it.

Flowers, ferns, butterflies, and more will give listeners lots to enjoy as they follow along. This is a great pick for talking about gardening, nature, and the stewardship of our world and the many wonderful creatures that live in it.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Mrs. Spitzer's Garden book cover - a favorite gardening picture book for kids.

Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou, illustrated by Tricia Tusa

I love the delightful illustrations in this book! Mrs. Spitzer is a teacher…and a gardener. Or, are they one and the same? This is a book that celebrates teachers as it metaphorically tells the story of Mrs. Spitzer’s garden. Alongside the story, Tricia Tusa has illustrated a most imaginative garden of plants personified. Full review here.

The book is published as a traditional full-size picture book and as a smaller copy (shown here), for gifting.

The cover of a children's book, The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta, illustrated by Frank Morrison

This book. Everything a picture book should be. Frank Morrison’s paintings are beautiful. The light, the emotion, the detail. I’d love to see the originals. ⠀⠀⠀
More about the story: This non-fiction picture book tells the story of George Washington Carver, his secret garden, his scientific pursuits, and his persistence. Absolutely add this one to your collection. Includes a timeline and suggestions for further reading at the end of the book.

We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and kids.

We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines and Kids, Illustrated by Julianna Swaney

From the very first pages, I love the message in this book for sharing with our kiddos. It’s all about starting small and keeping on even when things get challenging. One little step each day and there’s no telling what can be accomplished! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Follow the Gaines kids as they experience the death of their very first plant (sad!) all the way to seeing the harvest from their bountiful garden. It’s such an inspiring book to get kids interested in the natural world.

Up in the Garden Down in the Dirt book  cover.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Out of all these favorite gardening picture books for kids, this is one of my tops picks for how it shows the diversity and magic present in the everyday garden.

From the publisher, Chronicle Books: “In this exuberant and lyrical follow-up to the award-winning Over and Under the Snow, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves . . . and down in the dirt. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.”

I hope you found some new books to enjoy on this list of favorite gardening picture books! Thanks for stopping by!

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