The Best 30 Books To Read With Your Child About Gardening

Updated Apr. 16, 2019

Claude Monet, the famous impressionist painter, said, "“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece."

Gardening teaches about patience, love, care, and transformation. In all of these books, readers young and old are reminded of the beauty that starts with a little seed and how some love and effort can make something extraordinary.

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Secret Garden is one of my favorite stories from my childhood. I love Mary's self discovery and her help to Colin and ultimately Mr. Craven along the way. I love the way she gains color in her cheeks as she experiences the joy of playing and working outside and nurturing a garden and befriending a robin, joys that Martha and Dickon help her discover. I love that she feels the happiness that comes as she moves from a very self-centered character to thinking of others and putting their needs and wellbeing above her own. She also is lovingly forthright and frank with Colin, which helped him develop, too.

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

How to Grow a Friend book
#2
How to Grow a Friend
Written and illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A lovely metaphor teaches valuable lessons in how to treat others and make friendships blossom! Making a friend takes patience, care, and room to bloom--just like growing a flower. Soon your little gardeners will have their very own green thumbs for this most important of life skills.

Plant the Tiny Seed book
#3
Plant the Tiny Seed
Written and illustrated by Christie Matheson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This cute interactive book is fun because it has more then just pressing or tilting the book, you get to clap and wiggle your fingers (along with other fun tasks) to plant seeds and help them grow into beautiful flowers!

There is magic in every tiny seed. The seeds that come in little paper packets and those that fall from flowers and plants. In every garden and every flowerpot, magic can grow. With a little sunlight, a little water, and a little help from birds and worms and bees, a tiny seed sprouts, a plant grows, and a beautiful f lower blooms. There is magic in every tiny seed. And in this book, you become the magician. How? Press the seed into the ground, wiggle your fingers to add water, clap to bring the sun. And then . . .turn the page. What can grow from one tiny seed? Press, tap, wiggle, and jiggle to start the magic! Press the seed—don’t be shy! Wiggle your fingers to add some water. Clap your hands to bring the sun. Wow! A beautiful flower!

The Night Gardener book
#4
The Night Gardener
Written and illustrated by Eric Fan, Terry Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone on Grimloch Lane enjoys the trees and shrubs clipped into animal masterpieces after dark by the Night Gardener, but William, a lonely boy, spots the artist, follows him, and helps with his special work.

Miss Rumphius book
#5
Miss Rumphius
Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A beloved classic is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book, Viking has reoriginated the illustrations, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Up in the garden down in the dirt book
#6
Up in the garden down in the dirt
Written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this beautiful, unique look at a garden, as it shows what's happening above and below the ground and pairs it with sweet sentiments of gardening with family and creating something beautiful together. This book shows the efforts of diligent work, and it also shows the beauty in nature around us, both in plants and animals.

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.

The Curious Garden book
#7
The Curious Garden
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

One boy's quest for a greener world... one garden at a time. While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world. This is an enchanting tale with environmental themes and breathtaking illustrations that become more vibrant as the garden blooms. Red-headed Liam can also be spotted on every page, adding a clever seek-and-find element to this captivating picture book.

The Little Gardener book
#8
The Little Gardener
Written and illustrated by Emily Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I loved the fun take on having a "little" gardener who tries to make the garden look beautiful by working as hard as he can, but in the end, he needs a little help from someone bigger. His efforts inspire those around him to work harder and he gets the help he needs! This book is darling.

There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). In this beautifully gentle tale, Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, but still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

The Tree Lady book
#9
The Tree Lady
Written by H. Joseph Hopkins and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This is a perfect book for a gardening list. A true story about a strong woman with a vision for how she could beautify a city with her love and knowledge of gardening.

Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens. Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees. Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city. Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity is sure to resonate with readers young and old.

Sophie's Squash book
#10
Sophie's Squash
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Sophie's grocery turns into her best friend, and later, her new squash plant! This cute story about an unexpected garden is so fun and I love that Sophie turns the squash into her friends by drawing faces on them.

"Perfect for the fall season, Sophie's Squash is a delightful story of friendship and imagination." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes.... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie's Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.

Miss Maple's Seeds book
#11
Miss Maple's Seeds
Written and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Miss Maple goes around each season to gather lost seeds, and then nurtures and teaches them before helping them get planted and bloom. This is a sweet story with an underlying message that even the biggest, grandest trees start from a small seed.

Fans of Miss Rumphius will adore this gorgeous picture book which introduces the kind, nature-loving Miss Maple, who celebrates the miracle in each seed. Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become. Eliza Wheeler’s luminous paintings feature gorgeous landscapes, lush foliage and charming details. Her tender story celebrates the potential found in each seed—since even the grandest tree and most brilliant flower had to grow from the smallest of seeds. Celebrate every season with Miss Maple, from Earth Day to graduations to harvest festivals.

Planting a Rainbow book
#12
Planting a Rainbow
Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-2

This educational and enjoyable book helps children understand how to plant bulbs, seeds, and seedlings, and nurture their growth. Lois Ehlert's bold collage illustrations include six pages of staggered width, presenting all the flowers of each color of the rainbow.

The Carrot Seed book
#13
The Carrot Seed
Written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a little boy plants a carrot seed, everyone tells him it won't grow. But when you are very young, there are some things that you just know, and the little boy knows that one day a carrot will come up. So he waters his seed, and pulls the weeds, and he waits ... First published in 1945 and never out of print, this timeless combination of Ruth Krauss's simple text and Crockett Johnson's eloquent illustrations creates a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.

The Tiny Seed book
#14
The Tiny Seed
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

With his inimitable bright collage art and simple text, Carle follows the journey of a seed, from being blown by the wind to taking root and sprouting seeds of its own. Full color.

Sylvia's Spinach book
#15
Sylvia's Spinach
Written by Katherine Pryor and illustrated by Anna Raff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Sylvia thinks spinach is disgusting, but it turns out that a classroom effort to create a garden changes her mind! She ends up helping to plant the spinach in their garden, tries it, and ends up loving it.

Sylvia Spivens refuses to eat spinach, but when the teacher gives her a package of spinach seeds for the class garden, she has no choice but to plant and nurture them.

Growing Vegetable Soup book
#16
Growing Vegetable Soup
Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A father and child grow vegetables and then make them into a soup.

From seed to plant book
#17
From seed to plant
Written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

If you're looking for a very informative book about seeds and gardening, this book is for you! It's fact-filled and pretty thorough, and has descriptive illustrations.

With simple language and bright illustrations, non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the processes of pollination, seed formation, and germination. Important vocabulary is reinforced with accessible explanation and colorful, clear diagrams showing the parts of plants, the wide variety of seeds, and how they grow.

Secret Garden book
#18
Secret Garden
Written by Mandy Archer and illustrated by Jane Newland
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In The Secret Garden, preschoolers befriend robins and other animals along with Mary, Dickon, Martha, and Colin, experiencing the transformative magic of a well-loved garden. Little readers not only see the garden flourish, but they watch how Mary and Colin blossom with attention and friendship. Quotes from the original text are woven throughout this retelling, and the beautiful artwork creates a book to be treasured through childhood and beyond.

The Secret Garden book
#19
The Secret Garden
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library. This book introduces your toddler to Burnett's, The Secret Garden.

Errol's Garden book
#20
Errol's Garden
Written and illustrated by Gillian Hibbs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Errol loves gardening, but he doesn't have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can't do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. A heart-warming and inclusive tale about how one small boy's dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

Bloom book
#21
Bloom
Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Mary Lundquist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A mother and child plant flower bulbs in the fall, wait through the winter, and see them bloom in the spring.

The Year of the Garden book
#22
The Year of the Garden
Written by Andrea Cheng and illustrated by Patrice Barton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

In this prequel to The Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth.

Badger's Perfect Garden book
#23
Badger's Perfect Garden
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Badger is ready to plant the perfect garden. He has spent months gathering and sorting seeds. His friends come to help. After the seeds are planted, everyone celebrates. But then a rainstorm comes and washes away all of their hard work. Is the garden ruined?

Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery book
#24
Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
Written by Jill Diamond and illustrated by Lesley Vamos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Two best friends with a flair for adventure use their gardening and art skills to catch a criminal during Día de los Muertos, in the first book of the Lou Lou and Pea series! Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl have been best friends since first grade. Every Friday afternoon, they get together in Lou Lou's backyard garden for their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea party. They chat about school, discuss Pea's latest fashions, and plot the weekend's activities. But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos procession. First, Pea's cousin's quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou's beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. And that's just the beginning! When clues start to appear in El Corazón's outdoor murals, the best friends join forces, using Lou Lou's floral expertise and Pea's artistic genius to solve the mysteries. Accented by Lesley Vamos's spirited black-and-white illustrations, Jill Diamond's debut is a delightful introduction to two very creative best friends and their unforgettable adventures! Backmatter includes a recipe, crafting activity, and glossary of Spanish terms. "Lou Lou and Pea are likable heroines and the cast of multicultural characters and Latino-themed festivities broaden the accessibility. . . . This is a pleasant, breezy friendship tale for middle grade readers who also enjoy a light mystery." —School Library Journal

Alice's Magic Garden: Before the Rabbit Hole . . . book
#25
Alice's Magic Garden: Before the Rabbit Hole . . .
Written by Henry Herz and illustrated by Natalie Hoopes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Curiouser and curiouser! In this imaginative prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds herself at a gray, dreary boarding school that is decidedly up the rabbit hole. From the relentless clocks to the beastly students, Alice’s world is void of color and cheer—until Alice finds a secret garden and begins tending its wilting inhabitants. When Alice’s love touches an ordinary caterpillar, a lorry bird, and a white rabbit, magical things will happen—and that, as you know, is just the beginning of the story. Filled with literary allusions and clever nods to its classic roots, Alice’s Magic Garden is a delightful prequel that begs an escape to the whimsy of Wonderland.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!