Quick Things You Need To Know:
- This is where we’ll park books touching on community gardening & collaborative action in non-industrial gardening.
Quick & Messy Book List:
Particularly Awesome Books
- When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree – see notes in May 2019 Good Finds
- the forever garden – On a smaller scale than a community garden, this one is more about an accessible backyard garden. The torey reminds us that the seeds we plant aren’t just for us – they are a gift that keeps providing long after we’re gone to the generations who come after us. It’s really sweet.
- the curious garden – a boy exoscapes a gray industrial city day by day just by tending his garden. that first step is the first one in overwhelming the entire city and making everyone healthier and happier. after a while, his efforts inspire more gardener and the city tuns out great. This is great beyond gardening and we use it to discuss small tenacious steps, inspiring a movement, and general hyper-local activism. As my kids approach 6, they find this a little too simple, so best for 5 and under. Also works for guerilla gardening, once we start compiling books for that.
- Grow It! – This is my least favorite in the series, but still a book that my 5yo pulls down to read together fairly often. It’s been so long since we got it that I can’t remember why – but I ended up taping together a couple pages to hide one scene because I didn’t want my kids to get any mischievous ideas (I think the kid was spraying someone with a hose or maybe stomping around in the compost pile). It’s cute and sweet, but as the only one in the series that flows back to centering on a white kid, it’s not my favorite. White kids already get to star in all the books! Let us have this whole series!
- If You Plant A Seed – see notes from previous article in BFL FB group
- City Green – see notes in Problematic Tropes In Youth Saviorism
- EIEIO: how old macdonald got his farm with a little help from a hen – Both kids found this hilarious and insisted we read it every night for longer than the rest of our books. (They loved the poop). Not sure if I was supposed to sing it – it was hard to sing, but even doing a terrible job of it, it was a funny read, and a great way to demonstrate how to start a garden and convert worthless lawn into a beautiful edible community garden.
- Wanda’s Roses -nice but dated. the Earthquakes at 3&5 discussed whether or not she should get rid of the thornbush (wish the story had addressed how problematic it is to remove ‘inconvenient’ native plants and discussed why it had to go other than random bias against thorns) and they decided the paper roses can be an indicator of where the wind is blowing, so she should have kept it.
- Green Green: A Community gardening story – very cute, but I’d only read it with the kids if we had access to a community garden – other than mirroring real life, there’s not much to engage the reader. super simple text makes it boring for kids over 5. very little text and scratchy illustrations filling the page makes it hard to understand what is going on. nice idea, with kids seeing how trucks pave over the city and they can carve out some green for themselves, but there are better books about this already.
- In the Garden with Dr. Carver (Grigsby) perfect for black history beyond slavery, focuses exclusively on his work creating mobile education and teaching kids about agriculture and self-sustainable community farming. the story itself and illustrations weren’t very engaging though. It was well written and illustrated – just not interesting. Q was able to sit through it at age 6.5, but it wasn’t something we’d want to read again and I kind of forgot about it the next day. compost, educators, climate justice, STEAM, Black women illustrators.
- Junkyard – robots cleaning up a junkyard to become a community park and garden. Both kids found this engaging in preschool because ROBOTS! And also it works as a spring book to get kids excited about clearing up the yard so we can start something new. Best for 5 and under, as there’s not much story.
- Anywhere Farm – I was surprised that R2 wanted to read this so many times (several nights in a row) as he turned 4. Rhyming is cute, but no story. “An old empty lot makes a good growing plot. But a pan or a bucket, a pot or a shoe, a bin or a in or a window will do. Plan a farm in a crate! plant a farm in a cup! In a box on a balcony ten stories up!”
Books Not Worth Reading
- Butterfly Park – gorgeous illustrations, boring story. she finds a community garden and she and the other kids try to find it or whatever. skip.
- Our school garden – didactic and piecemeal and written for I dunno, classrooms? boring skip it.
- The children’s garden – So bland I don’t even remember reading this. My only notes from it are “boring AF.” Welp. I guess that’s it then.