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New Books Help Growing Kids Grow Great Gardens!


Green-thumbed kids can grow schoolyard gardens, victory gardens, salsa gardens, and more. Find great ideas for "growing" great classroom projects in three recently released books!

Book Cover Image In most parts of the country, March is the time to get out the gardening tools and get your hands dirty! Three new gardening books for kids can help parents introduce gardening concepts. The books also serve as great classroom resources for teachers who are eager to introduce gardening and the art of growing things into the classroom.

The first of the three books, The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening, is a veritable encyclopedia of gardening for kids of any age. Clearly written directions and step-by-step illustrations can help turn even the brownest of thumbs green!

Would your students like to plan a garden? Is it time to start some seedlings? All the information for those gardening basics is here. The Jumbo Book of Gardening stands out among other gardening books for kids because it's also an excellent resource for teachers!

  • Are your students studying Native Americans? Maybe they would like to grow a "three sisters" garden. According to an old Iroquois tale, Sky Woman, the creator of the world and everything in it, gave corn, beans, and squash to the Iroquois people. "The three vegetables were perfect companions," says the text. "The corn stalks gave the beans a support to climb up. The roots of the beans added nitrogen to the soil to feed the corn and squash. The big, prickly leaves of the squash kept corn-loving raccoons away."
  • Perhaps your class is working on a unit about Mexico. Plant a salsa garden -- tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic -- and grow your own Mexican feast!
  • If your students are learning about World War II, plan a "victory garden"! During the war, many people helped the war effort by planting gardens to feed people on the home front. The directions for planting a victory garden are right in the book!

Maybe you and your students want to plant a schoolyard garden. A month-by-month calendar of gardening activities will help teachers "grow" a yearlong unit. Perhaps you need to plan your garden for kids with special needs -- raise the garden to hand level for kids in wheelchairs. You might try growing a multicultural garden. An A to Z garden can help you teach the alphabet. The Jumbo Book of Gardening provides all the tools you might need -- except for a trowel and spade, of course!

Author Karyn Morris must have been a teacher at one time because she has a nice grasp of gardening as a tool to stimulate growing young minds! Special indices provide information about native plants for all regions of the United States, lists of plants that attract birds and butterflies, a list of invasive plants, and much more. The great ideas in this jumbo book keep on coming.

The book is scheduled for release next month (April 2000). If you can't find it in stores yet, check back with your local bookseller in a few weeks.


Book Cover Image World Book, Inc. offers a simple and colorful introduction to gardening: Gardening -- I Can Do It! The big format pages and dozens of colorful photos by Daniel Pangbourne make this resource ideal for teachers and parents who want to introduce kids to gardening fun and learning.

Authors Ivan Bulloch and Diane James offer young readers an introduction to using gardening tools, sowing seeds indoors, and growing plants from cuttings. Kids will discover how much fun they can have growing things in pots and growing plants and herbs to eat. The handy index makes all that information easy to find.


H. A. Rey's Curious George is one of the most beloved of book characters. Did you know that Rey also created other characters? Young students will enjoy one of those characters in Elizabite, Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant, recently re-released in paperback by Houghton Mifflin.

Book Cover Image
Students will see the obvious connections between Curious George and an equally curious Elizabite. The illustration style is clearly Rey! Like Rey's curious monkey, Elizabite often pokes her nose into places where it doesn't belong. In rhyming verse, Rey tells of carnivorous Elizabite's penchant for mosquitoes and hot dogs -- and even the dog's tail and the maid's posterior!

The story of Elizabite will make a silly little addition to a classroom study focused on things lively and green!

The three recent releases highlighted above are available in bookstores. If you are unable to locate any of the titles, ask your bookseller to order them for you or contact the publishers directly.

  • The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book Of Gardening, written by Karyn Morris and illustrated by Jane Kurisu, is published by Kids Can Press, 85 River Rock Drive, Suite 302, Buffalo, NY 14207.
  • Gardening -- I Can Do It!, written by Ivan Bulloch and Diane James, with photography by Daniel Pangbourne and illustrations by Emily Hare, is published by World Book, Inc., 525 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60661.
  • Elizabite, The Adventures Of A Carnivorous Plant, written and illustrated by H. A. Rey, is published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003.


  • Gardening With Children
    A list of newsletters and other resources for people who garden with children.
  • The Garden Gate
    A huge, well-organized site of links to informative and interesting horticulture sites around the world.
  • School Gardens
    Includes a step-by-step guide to creating gardens.

Article by Gary Hopkins, Editor-In-Chief
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

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