Gardens: Picture Books to Turn Your Thumb Green

Celebrate spring in the classroom with these picture books about gardens and gardening.

Gardens: Picture Books to Turn Your Thumb Green

I’ve never felt more excited for spring to arrive! (and does anyone else feel cheated out of last spring?) Growing up, gardening was a staple of late spring. As we get ready for summer, check out these beautiful picture books about gardens and gardening.

We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines

This is the story of a family working on a garden for the first time. Together they plant, tend, water, weed, and harvest their way through all the ups and downs of gardening. 

Isabella’s Garden by Glenda Millard

In Isabella’s garden, plants and flowers blossom from the dirt, growing from small seeds into thriving plants. Familiar nursery rhyme tunes take on new life as well with lyrics about gardens and growing. 

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

A little boy begins to notice “curious gardens” that have popped up all over town. They are in between the cracks in the sidewalk, inside old vehicles that no longer run, and in empty lots. After reading this book, you might begin to notice curious gardens all around you too!

Green Green: A Community Gardening Story by Marie Lamba and Baldev Lamba

The rhymes in this story are all about bringing green to the city! Young readers will be inspired to bring green to their homes and neighborhoods as well. 

Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano

Tokyo watches as green seems to disappear altogether from his home city. After planting some seeds that were given to him, the plants begin to take over the entire block overnight! He must work to come up with a plan to help him and his community. 

City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Marcy lives in the city and just behind her house is an abandoned lot. She decides to revitalize the space and create a place of vibrant green that the whole city can benefit from. 

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

A Chinese-American family plants a garden each year. The youngest member of the family thinks that their vegetable garden is ugly compared to the flower garden that the neighbors have. But when the vegetables are finally ready to be harvested, she learns that they serve a purpose not just for her family, but for the whole community. 

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

A little boy plants a carrot seed in the dirt, but everyone tells him it will not grow. He knows that if he waits patiently and tends to his little seed that it will grow eventually. 

Badger’s Perfect Garden by Marsha Diane Arnold

Badger is thrilled that spring has finally arrived! He has spent all winter long planning out his garden and collecting and organizing seeds. His friends generously help him furrow the rows, drop the seeds, and water the ground. But when a rain storm comes soon after and ruins all of their hard work, will Badger’s dream of a garden be lost forever in the puddles?

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

A budding scientist named Alice observes her family’s backyard garden and discovers insects, birds, and plant life that are thriving in a mini ecosystem. 

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart

When Lydia goes to the city to live with her Uncle Jim, she packs her seed collection in her suitcase. Lydia wants to bring a garden with her wherever she goes, and the empty rooftop looks to be the perfect place to make some magic happen. 

Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root

This fun rhyming text will inspire you to look for gardens growing everywhere around you! Young children will also be excited to create their own ‘anywhere farm’ wherever they can–in a pot or an empty lot!

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

This book describes the process a flower goes and grows through; from seed all the way to beautiful blossom. 

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert

In this colorful, cut-paper book, a child announces that she and her father are going to grow vegetable soup. They plant, weed, water, harvest, chop, and cook to create the best soup ever!

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay

This sweet story draws a strong analogy between planting a physical seed and planting a dream. Both require lots of patience, nurturing, love, and time to grow into something big. 

Florette by Anna Walker

When Mae’s family makes a move from the country to the city, she mourns the loss of her precious garden. There’s no room for one in the city…or is there?

Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou

Mrs. Spitzer is a gardener, both in the traditional sense and in the classroom. She’s a teacher, a great one who plants seeds of knowledge in young minds and nurtures them as they grow, change, and blossom. 

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

This A to Z book shows the whole process of composting; including how to get started, its practical uses, and the benefits it offers the environment. 

Green Bean! Green Bean! by Patricia Thomas

A young girl and budding gardener plants one tiny green bean seed. Then she watches it grow and change through its life cycle and all four seasons. 

And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson

Gram teaches Joe how to plant and care for the garden, but Joe soon finds he would rather do some things his own way. Gram and Joe each use their own methods, but when harvest time comes, both find pleasant surprises thanks to the good brown earth. 

From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons

In this book, young readers will discover how seeds grow and change into flowers, plants, trees, or food to eat. 

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

A young girl named Lola reads a book of poetry about gardens and wants to grow one of her very own. As she waits, she learns that one key to a successful garden is lots and lots of patience. 

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

Eric Carle does it again with this simple yet poignant story about the life cycle of a seed. 

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner

In the spring and summer, we can watch plant sprouts poke up through soft, fertile soil. In the late summer and fall, we watch as the harvest comes in. But even during the wintertime, things are still happening beneath the surface of the soil. 

Stories From Bug Garden by Lisa Moser

Though the garden might appear to be abandoned, it is a home and safe haven for a myriad of insects. Within you will meet a roly-poly who loves to roll, a cricket with dreams bigger than he is, a ladybug who loves to create mud pies, and more. 

The Magic Garden by Lemniscates

This gorgeous picture book brings the magic of a garden to life. There is so much to discover within the plants, flowers, and grasses. In a garden, you will find a world of life just beyond the surface, if only you are willing to discover it. 

Mortimer’s First Garden by Karma Wilson

As spring begins to thaw the ground, Mortimer begins to snack on seeds and waits to see something green. He decides to plant one of his seeds and patiently waits for the sun and spring rains to nurture his little seed into a sprout.

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting

A young girl wants to do something meaningful for her mother, so she and her father decide to plant a flower garden as a surprise for her. 

Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

A little boy plants a circle of sunflower seeds in his backyard, and by summer they have grown up to create a sunflower house. The magical sunflower house becomes a place for imagination to bloom all summer long, and when fall comes, the friends scatter the seeds for the birds. 

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