Sunday, February 27, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have spent the last 10 days in Los Angeles and welcomed the break from cold and snow.  One of the highlights of my trip was spending time in the Micheltorena Garden.  My neighbors Charlie and Jason helped make this amazing little garden appear in a parking lot at the Micheltorena Elementary School. 

I know it is a bit premature to highlight gardening books but here are a few, as I felt so inspired by my time in the garden.  Hopefully this will help my east coast friends and family feel a little closer to warmer days...they are on their way folks!

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
Ages 10 - 15

This short novelette tells the tale of a pop-up garden in urban Cleveland, Ohio.  It all starts with a girl who wants to plant a few bean seeds.  A few neighbors notice and soon a community garden is up and running.  Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different member in the community.  The chapters reveal the journeys each person has made to come to this garden.  A Haitian cab driver who stops by on his way to work, a young man who is homeless but takes on the task of keeping watch over the garden, and more.  There is a wide diversity of perspectives and voices, from young and old, men and women, all walks of life.  The garden brings these folks together and we get to listen in as they express their struggles with living in an urban setting.  This book is very moving and is sure to get discussions started.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Ages 6-10

"Do something to make the world more beautiful."  This is the advice young Alice receives from her grandfather.  As she grows up to travel the world, work as a librarian, we see Alice turn to Miss Rumphius and we follow her adventures.  However, as she gets older she thinks of her grandfather's words and decides there is still more to do to make the world beautiful.  She loves flowers, especially lupines, and decides to plant them everywhere.  This book is inspiring and has a great message for children and young gardeners!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Ages 10 to 15

A classic garden story.  Mary Lennox moves from India back to England when her parents die.  She begins to unlock the mysteries of the Misselthwaite Manor and discovers a crippled cousin and a secret garden.  Mary won't take no for an answer from anyone and helps her cousin walk again ad brings the garden back to life.  LOVE!

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Ages 3-8

A book for the youngest gardener!  Eric Carle works his paper art magic to bring the story of a little seed to life.  Colors and beautiful words guide readers as they discover the difficult journey one tiny seed takes to make a beautiful flower.