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Rural Living: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about rural living?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to rural living. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about rural living.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about rural living, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Mystery Ranch to popular sellers like Anne of Green Gables to some of our favorite hidden gems like Little House in the Big Woods.

We hope this list of kids books about rural living can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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Top 10 Books About Rural Living

#1
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Anne of Green Gables
Written by L.M. Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Puffin in Bloom is a charming assortment of classic novels with coming-of-age themes, aimed at the young reader. Bond, a stationary artist with Rifle Paper Co. renowned for her floral patterns, puts her signature touch on the covers in this line, because just as a flower blossoms, a young child comes into her own.

#2
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The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

#3
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These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

#4
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Fanny's Dream
Written by Caralyn Buehner & illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn’t show up, she decides on a local farmer instead. Reprint.

#5
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All the Places to Love
Written by Patricia MacLachlan & illustrated by Mike Wimmer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A picture book celebration of love by the Newbery Medal–winning author, Patricia MacLachlan, with luminous paintings by Mike Wimmer.

Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventually passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: “All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.” This stunning picture book is the perfect gift for parents of a new baby.

#6
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Ruby Holler
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“You are now entering Ruby Holler, the one and only Ruby Holler! Your lives are never going to be the same—“

“Trouble twins” Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they’re restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over. Two pairs of lives grow closer and are changed forever.

#7
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The Old Truck
Written & illustrated by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.

After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it's time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.

With an eye-catching retro design and cleverly nuanced illustrations, The Old Truck celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.

#8
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The Homesick Club
Written by Libby Martinez & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mónica and Hannah are school kids in the big city. Together, they have formed the Homesick Club, since they are both from far away. Mónica misses the family of hummingbirds that she and her grandmother would feed in her backyard in Bolivia every day. Hannah misses the sunshine and the tiny tortoise that lived near her house in Israel.

When a new teacher, Miss Shelby, arrives from Texas, the girls discover that she misses her home, too, especially the huge sky full of stars and a Southern treat known as Hummingbird Cake. The girls ask Miss Shelby to join their club, then Mónica decides she will bring a surprise for show and tell — a surprise that brings Miss Shelby close to tears.

Author Libby Martinez addresses a theme that many children can relate to — feeling homesick — especially when home is far away. Rebecca Gibbon’s charming illustrations bring an imaginative, light touch to the story.

#9
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Open the Barn Door
Written by & illustrated by Christopher Santoro
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

From the creator of OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR comes the hit lift-the-flap board book all about your favorite farm animals!

Spend a day on the farm and explore all the animal sights and sounds! Featuring 10 lift-the-flaps and a variety of barnyard favorites, including horses, chickens, cows, and pigs, this board book is a fun-filled introduction to life on the farm.

#10
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On the Banks of Plum Creek
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles. And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

Table of Contents
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Books About Rural Living and Homeschooling

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The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

Add to list
These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

Add to list
On the Banks of Plum Creek
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles. And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

Honorable Mentions
By the Shores of Silver Lake book
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Little House in the Big Woods book
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The First Four Years book
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Farmer Boy book
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  1. By the Shores of Silver Lake - The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors’ house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses’ covered-wagon travels are finally over.

  2. Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls’s story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  3. The First Four Years - For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover. Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers. And so Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  4. Farmer Boy - While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Here Almanzo and his brother and sisters help with the summer planting and fall harvest. In winter there is wood to be chopped and great slabs of ice to be cut from the river and stored. Time for fun comes when the jolly tin peddler visits, or best of all, when the fair comes to town. This is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of how her husband Almanzo grew up as a farmer boy far from the little house where Laura lived.

Books About Rural Living and Orphans

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Anne of Green Gables
Written by L.M. Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Puffin in Bloom is a charming assortment of classic novels with coming-of-age themes, aimed at the young reader. Bond, a stationary artist with Rifle Paper Co. renowned for her floral patterns, puts her signature touch on the covers in this line, because just as a flower blossoms, a young child comes into her own.

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Ruby Holler
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“You are now entering Ruby Holler, the one and only Ruby Holler! Your lives are never going to be the same—“

“Trouble twins” Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they’re restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over. Two pairs of lives grow closer and are changed forever.

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Anne of Green Gables
Written by L.M. Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Cuthberts are in for a shock. They are expecting an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables � but a skinny red-haired girl turns up instead. Highly spirited Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts’ affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter, and soon it’s impossible to imagine life without her. A favourite classic with cover and introduction by the inimitable Lauren Child, award-winning creator of Clarice Bean and the hugely popular Charlie and Lola series.

Honorable Mentions
Anna on the Farm book
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The Higher Power of Lucky book
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  1. Anna on the Farm - Anna is thrilled when she receives an invitation to leave hot, sticky Baltimore and visit her aunt and uncle on their farm, where she’ll be able to go barefoot, swim in the pond, and drink fresh-squeezed lemonade. But when she arrives, she’s greeted by an unpleasant surprise: her uncle’s nephew, Theodore, who delights in teasing her mercilessly about her city ways. Anna refuses to let Theodore get the best of her, though, and in a series of suspenseful adventures and hilarious mishaps she proves that she isn’t just a city slicker, after all. In this lively sequel to Anna All Year Round, award-winning author Mary Downing Hahn again draws on her own mother’s childhood experiences just before World War I. The result is a gathering of humorous, heartwarming episodes filled with both the delights and difficulties that have always accompanied the journey of growing up.

  2. The Higher Power of Lucky - Lucky, age 10, can’t wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. It’s all Brigitte’s fault for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead, Lucky is sure that she’ll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won’t be allowed. She’ll have to lose her friends: Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tiers. Just as bad, she’ll have to give up eavesdropping on 12-step anonymous programs, where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own “higher power” - and quick. But she hadn’t planned on a dust storm, or needing to lug the world’s heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

Want to see books about orphans?

Books About Rural Living and Multigenerational

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All the Places to Love
Written by Patricia MacLachlan & illustrated by Mike Wimmer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A picture book celebration of love by the Newbery Medal–winning author, Patricia MacLachlan, with luminous paintings by Mike Wimmer.

Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventually passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: “All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.” This stunning picture book is the perfect gift for parents of a new baby.

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The Old Truck
Written & illustrated by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.

After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it's time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.

With an eye-catching retro design and cleverly nuanced illustrations, The Old Truck celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.

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A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
Written by Leslie Connor & illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award-winning author Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle.

It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death.

Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming―and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival.

Wasn’t one rescue enough?

Lydia is not a dog person―and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past.

Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult―and she does not mean to keep secrets―but there are things she’s not telling…

Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…

And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…

And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past―but at what cost?

Award-winning author Leslie Connor crafts a story that sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. This uplifting story about recovery features strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

Honorable Mentions
Finding Esme book
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Surprise Lily book
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A Long Way from Chicago book
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Mystery Ranch book
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  1. Finding Esme - After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor. The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away. Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss. From acclaimed author Suzanne Crowley, this engaging adventure set on a Texas peach farm is just right for fans of Rebecca Stead and Ann M. Martin.

  2. Surprise Lily - Ten-year-old Rose’s perfect life is upended when her long-absent disaster of a mother turns up. Can she hold her family together as everything unravels? Growing up on the farm it was always just Rose and grandma, working the land that had been in the Lovell family for generations. She doesn’t miss her mother, Iris, a bit. In fact, when Iris shows up, Rose is furious. But when an ugly argument between her mother and grandmother reveals painful truths about their family history, Rose runs away. . . . And inadvertently discovers her secret little sister, Lily. Generations of whispered secrets and family dysfunction surface as Rose struggles to reconcile the home and life she loves with the history she never knew— and to protect Lily at all costs. Even if it means letting Iris into her life. In alternating chapters, previous generations of Lovell women narrate their experiences on the farm, adding depth and context to this powerful story of complex families and unconditional love. Moranville’s captivating prose will keep readers turning the pages as Rose grapples with her changing life and learns the truth about her family— mothers, daughters, and women who weren’t ready to be either.

  3. A Long Way from Chicago - A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

  4. Mystery Ranch - Eccentric Aunt Jane needs help on her ranch. The Aldens overturn a plot against her.

Books About Rural Living and Domestic Animals

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Open the Barn Door
Written by & illustrated by Christopher Santoro
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

From the creator of OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR comes the hit lift-the-flap board book all about your favorite farm animals!

Spend a day on the farm and explore all the animal sights and sounds! Featuring 10 lift-the-flaps and a variety of barnyard favorites, including horses, chickens, cows, and pigs, this board book is a fun-filled introduction to life on the farm.

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Tiny Farm
Written by & illustrated by Suzy Ultman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Embark on a Tiny Tour! These adorable shaped board books take young readers on a tour through a teeny world with every turn of the page. Die-cuts on each page lead to the next adventure, finally ending in the comforts of home. Toddlers will delight in guessing what comes next while learning essential prediction skills. Shaped like buildings and featuring neon accents throughout, these cute books have great value and will prove irresistible to children eager to create their own tiny world.

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Spot Goes to the Farm
Written & illustrated by Eric Hill
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Spot searches for new babies among the farm animals, each of which greets him with its own distinctive noise. Movable flaps conceal portions of the illustrations.

Honorable Mentions
Ten Red Apples book
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Jimmy Dabble book
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This Little Pup book
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When the Leaf Blew In book
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  1. Ten Red Apples - Ten red apples hanging on a tree. Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee! But they are not there for long. Horse, cow, donkey, pig, hen, and the other farm animals each eat one. “Save one for me,” calls the farmer. But what about the farmer’s wife? Count on Pat Hutchins to solve the problem happily. And count the red apples before they are all gone!

  2. Jimmy Dabble - When the Dabble farm is threatened, little Jimmy Dabble—who has taught the barnyard animals to sing—and his farmyard friends find a creative way to save the day. A first book.

  3. This Little Pup - A boy throws a ball for the puppy to fetch. It bounces past two brown cows, three green frogs, four pink pigs, and keeps right on going around the farm, taking the reader with it, all the way back to where it started. A circuitous romp with cumulative text and beautifully rendered illustrations, introducing animals, counting, and colors.

  4. When the Leaf Blew In - Simple, repetitive text and expressive illustrations tell an autumn story about the way one leaf turns an entire barnyard upside down.

Books About Rural Living and Social Themes

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The Homesick Club
Written by Libby Martinez & illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Mónica and Hannah are school kids in the big city. Together, they have formed the Homesick Club, since they are both from far away. Mónica misses the family of hummingbirds that she and her grandmother would feed in her backyard in Bolivia every day. Hannah misses the sunshine and the tiny tortoise that lived near her house in Israel.

When a new teacher, Miss Shelby, arrives from Texas, the girls discover that she misses her home, too, especially the huge sky full of stars and a Southern treat known as Hummingbird Cake. The girls ask Miss Shelby to join their club, then Mónica decides she will bring a surprise for show and tell — a surprise that brings Miss Shelby close to tears.

Author Libby Martinez addresses a theme that many children can relate to — feeling homesick — especially when home is far away. Rebecca Gibbon’s charming illustrations bring an imaginative, light touch to the story.

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The Farmer
Written & illustrated by Ximo Abadia
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A farmer’s hard work is rewarded in this eco-friendly and elegantly illustrated picture book.

In the town, everyone is sleeping. But not Paul. Paul mows. Paul rakes. Paul sows. Paul draws water. And soon Paul has beautiful plants and flowers growing all around him. But one day, the water dries up. The sun beats down. Paul despairs. But thanks to his animal friends, and a bit of rain, help is on the way . . .

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Blackberry Juice
Written by Sara Cassidy & illustrated by Helen Flook
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

After moving into their new home, a keeling-over farmhouse in the country, nine-year-old Cyrus and his brother, Rudy, have trouble adjusting to all the changes. The fresh-from-the-farm egg yolks are blindingly yellow. The eccentric girl next door has a very unusual sense of style. And Rumpley, a donkey they inherited with the farmhouse, doesn’t even know how to bray. Nothing about the country feels warm or familiar. But when Cyrus is stranded one evening by the tide, he finds his lifeline in an unlikely companion.

Blackberry Juice is the sequel to Not For Sale.

Honorable Mentions
Where the Watermelons Grow book
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Tumble & Blue book
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Kira-Kira book
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Little Cliff's First Day of School book
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  1. Where the Watermelons Grow - Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness. When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time. With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations. But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

  2. Tumble & Blue - When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him. But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones. Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that’s followed them around for all of their lives. They’re going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they’re going to reclaim their destinies. But what if the legend of Munch is nothing but a legend, after all?

  3. Kira-Kira - kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister Lynn makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who with her special way of viewing the world teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill and the whole family begins to fall apart it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

  4. Little Cliff's First Day of School - Little Cliff’s great-grandmother, Mama Pearl, and his great-grandfather, Poppa Joe, are so excited for him to start first grade.  But Little Cliff doesn’t want to go to school, especially if it means leaving behind his toys, his home, and his family.  When the first day of school comes, Mama Pearl walks Little Cliff to the schoolhouse.  As they draw nearer, Little Cliff hears laughter and looks up to see that all of his friends are there.  Hmm, maybe school will be fun. . . .

Books About Rural Living and Farms

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Fanny's Dream
Written by Caralyn Buehner & illustrated by Mark Buehner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fanny Agnes is a sturdy farm girl who dreams of marrying a prince, but when her fairy godmother doesn’t show up, she decides on a local farmer instead. Reprint.

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Dream Snow
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

It’s December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter’s nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! It is in his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket.

But when the farmer awakens, he finds that it has really snowed outside, and now he remembers something! Putting on his red suit, he goes outside, puts some gifts under the tree for his animals, and presses a button near a Christmas tree, creating a most surprising musical treat for children everywhere.

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A Farmer Boy Birthday
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Jody Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Long, long ago, a little boy named Almanzo Wilder lived on a farm in the New York countryside with his father, his mother, his big brother, Royal, and his big sisters, Eliza Jane and Alice. One special day is Almanzo’s birthday. He gets to stay home from school, and even better, Father gives him a yoke for his calves, Star and Bright, and a beautiful hand-sled. Almanzo spends the morning learning how to break the calves, and then he spends the afternoon flying down the hill in his brand-new sled. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers. Now for the first time, the youngest readers can share Almanzo’s adventures on the farm in these very special picture books adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved storybooks. Jody Wheeler’s warm paintings, inspired by Garth Williams’ classic Little House illustrations, bring Almanzo and his family lovingly to life.

Honorable Mentions
Hey, Hey, Hay! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them book
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Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket book
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Farm The Farm book
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The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight book
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  1. Hey, Hey, Hay! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them - Every bale of hay has a little bit of summer sun stored in the heart of it— learn from a mother-daughter team how hay is made! Feeding her horses one cold and wintry day, a girl thinks about all the hard work that went into the fresh-smelling bales she’s using. The rhyming text and brilliant full-page paintings follow the girl and her mother through the summer as they cut, spread, dry and bale in the fields. Mower blades slice through the grass./A new row falls with every pass./Next we spread the grass to dry./The tedder makes those grasses fly!
    This celebration of summer, farming, and family, illustrated by Pura Belpré honor artist Joe Cepeda, includes a glossary of haymaking words, and a recipe for making your own switchel— a traditional farm drink, to cool you down in the summer heat.
    A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year

  2. Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket - Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner—Junie B. Jones! It’s almost the end of the school year, and Room Nine is taking a field trip to a farm! There’s lots of fun farm stuff there. Like a real actual barn. And a real actual farmer. There’s even real alive animals you can pet! Only, where’s the gift shop? That’s what Junie B. Jones would like to know. Surely no one would want Junie B. to go home empty-handed. . . .

  3. Farm The Farm - A lift-the-flap book that lets little ones farm the farm! This interactive novelty board book encourages readers to care for animals at the farm by lifting the sturdy flaps on each spread. Feed the hens, brush the pony’s mane, and open the gate so the cow can graze in the pasture in this inventive and engaging book that teaches little ones how to be responsible.

  4. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight - Aside from her grandparents’ unusual fatigue and their farm’s unusual barrenness, Jodie notices the single scarecrow that once stood in the cornfield has been replaced by a dozen creepy, creeping ones. Original.

Books About Rural Living and Transportation

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Farm (Wheels at Work)
Written by Child's Play & illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

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Tractor Mac Harvest Time
Written & illustrated by Billy Steers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When the nights start to get cooler and the corn is ready for picking, it’s time for autumn fun at the farm! Tractor Mac loves the fall, but he’s just too big for the orchard, where he is stuck harvesting apples that Farmer Bill will make into delicious treats. Across the road, Small Fred the tractor is busy with the Pumpkin Picking Festival, but he’s just too small to pull all of the people who want to go on a hayride. Working together, Tractor Mac and Small Fred figure out a way to share their chores and share the fun.

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Farm
Written & illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

Honorable Mentions
Tractor Mac Family Reunion book
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Tractor Mac Farmers' Market book
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Tractor Mac New Friend book
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  1. Tractor Mac Family Reunion - Tractor Mac loves that he is the only tractor in his farm family. Then one day, his friend Iron Dave the train brings him to a tractor dealership and shows him a whole lot full of big red tractors that look just like him. Are these tractors his real family? Tractor Mac is excited to find a place with so many familiar faces, but sad that he might have to leave the farm to be with them. Then all of the big red tractors in the lot help him to understand that his real home is with the family he’s found with the animals and machines on Stony Meadow Farm.

  2. Tractor Mac Farmers' Market - Tractor Mac and his friends find out that fresh, locally grown food is good food; the Tractor Mac series is perfect for fans of Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine. Now in paperback with two colorful sticker sheets!

  3. Tractor Mac New Friend - When a new red tractor named Daisy joins the team at Stony Meadow Farm, she has trouble adjusting to all of the different chores that must be done. She realizes that she has much to learn. Can she do all of the work on her own? Luckily, Tractor Mac and his friends chop, pull, haul, and drag alongside Daisy until she gets the hang of it. With the help of everyone on the farm, Daisy thinks she will fit right in!

Books About Rural Living and Friendship

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Otis
Written & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Meet Otis, everyone’s favorite tractor, created by the bestselling illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena and The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children’s classic. Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.

But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day.

In a wonderful new palette, and in the tradition of classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Story of Ferdinand, Loren Long has crafted an unforgettable new story—and character—celebrating the power of friendship and perseverance.

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Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek
Written by Deborah Hopkinson & illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In Knob Creek, Kentucky, in 1816, seven-year-old Abe Lincoln falls into a creek and is rescued by his best friend, Austin Gollaher.

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The Wind in the Willows
Written & illustrated by Kenneth Grahame
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The much-loved classic tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. When Mole goes boating with Ratty instead of doing his spring-cleaning, he discovers a whole new world. As well as adventures on the river and in the Wild Wood, there are high jinks on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad become the firmest of friends, but after Toad’s latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels once and for all?

Honorable Mentions
Wind in the Willows book
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Under the Bottle Bridge book
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  1. Wind in the Willows - The most popular children’s book ever written, lovingly illustrated by John Burningham. Kenneth Grahame began to tell the tale of the river bank on the night of his son’s fourth birthday, but what started out as a short bedtime story soon grew into one of the most enjoyable series of adventures ever to be told in children’s literature. The entertaining exploits of the book’s four intrepid heroes - Mole, Water Rat, Badger and the incorrigible Toad - have captured the imagination of generations of children. This beautiful edition is illustrated by renowned picture book artist John Burningham, whose wonderfully evocative line drawings marry perfectly with Graham’s vivid text. There are twelve glorious full-colour scenes, full of detail, to enjoy over again and again.

  2. Under the Bottle Bridge - In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Three Times Lucky, critically acclaimed author Jessica Lawson returns with her fourth whimsical, lyrical, and heartfelt middle grade novel about a girl who’s desperately trying to keep her life together, when everything seems to be falling apart. In the weeks leading up to Gilbreth, New York’s annual AutumnFest, twelve-year-old woodcraft legacy Minna Treat is struggling with looming deadlines, an uncle trying to hide Very Bad News, and a secret personal quest. When she discovers mysterious bottle messages under one of the village’s 300-year-old bridges, she can’t help but wonder who’s leaving them, what they mean, and, most importantly…could the messages be for her? Along with best friend Crash and a mystery-loving newcomer full of suspicious theories, Minna is determined to discover whether the bottles are miraculously leading her toward the long-lost answers she’s been looking for, or drawing her into a disaster of historic proportions.

Books About Rural Living and Frontier And Pioneer Life

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Little Town on the Prairie
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover. The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.

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Summertime in the Big Woods
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With this illustrated adaptation from the beloved Little House series**, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classics.**

The winter is finally over, and now it is summertime. Laura and Mary are busy all day helping Ma in the garden and playing outside.

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

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Little House on the Prairie
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Based on the real-life adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie is the third book in the award-winning Little House series, which has captivated generations of readers. This edition features the classic black-and-white artwork from Garth Williams.

Laura Ingalls and her family are heading to Kansas! Leaving behind their home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, they travel by covered wagon until they find the perfect spot to build a little house on the prairie. Laura and her sister Mary love exploring the rolling hills around their new home, but the family must soon get to work, farming and hunting and gathering food for themselves and for their livestock. Just when the Ingalls family starts to settle into their new home, they find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict. Will they have to move again?

The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

Honorable Mentions
Sugar Snow book
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Caddie Woodlawn book
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Sarah, Plain and Tall book
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  1. Sugar Snow - With this illustrated adaptation from the beloved Little House series**, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics.** In Sugar Snow, Laura is delighted when a soft, thick snow falls in late spring in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. A late snow helps the trees make more sap for maple syrup, and maple syrup means sweet sugar cakes and sticky fingers for Laura!  Doris Ettlinger’s full-color illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  2. Caddie Woodlawn - An illustrated edition of the Newberry Medal–winning Caddie Woodlawn, which has been captivating young readers since 1935. Caddie Woodlawn is a real adventurer. She’d rather hunt than sew and plow than bake, and tries to beat her brother’s dares every chance she gets. Caddie is friends with Indians, who scare most of the neighbors—neighbors who, like her mother and sisters, don’t understand her at all. Caddie is brave, and her story is special because it’s based on the life and memories of Carol Ryrie Brink’s grandmother, the real Caddie Woodlawn. Her spirit and sense of fun have made this book a classic that readers have taken to their hearts for more than seventy years.

  3. Sarah, Plain and Tall - This beloved Newbery Medal–winning book is the first of five books in Patricia MacLachlan’s chapter book series about the Witting family. Set in the late nineteenth century and told from young Anna’s point of view, Sarah, Plain and Tall tells the story of how Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton comes from Maine to the prairie to answer Papa’s advertisement for a wife and mother. Before Sarah arrives, Anna and her younger brother Caleb wait and wonder. Will Sarah be nice? Will she sing? Will she stay? This children’s literature classic is perfect for fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, historical fiction, and timeless stories using rich and beautiful language. Sarah, Plain and Tall gently explores themes of abandonment, loss and love. This anniversary edition includes author Patricia MacLachlan’s Newbery speech, a discussion guide, and a reading list. Read the rest of the Sarah books by Patricia MacLachlan: Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, and Grandfather’s Dance.

Books About Rural Living and Animals

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Old Yeller
Written by Fred Gipson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn’t been for brother Arliss’ loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn’t have got along without him. Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn’t an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860’s was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away. Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets tip from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line. But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier’s.

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Cook-a-doodle-doo!
Written by Janet Stevens & illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

With the questionable help of his friends, Big Brown Rooster manages to bake a strawberry shortcake which would have pleased his great-grandmother, Little Red Hen.

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The Scarecrow's Hat
Written & illustrated by Ken Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A resourceful chicken seeks the help of her farm animal friends to solve a problem, while giving something of herself along the way.

Chicken really admires Scarecrow’s hat. Scarecrow would gladly trade his hat for a walking stick to rest his tired arms. Chicken doesn’t have a walking stick to trade―but she knows someone who does. This begins her quest to find items to trade among her farm friends, all to obtain a walking stick to swap for Scarecrow’s hat. But why does Chicken want an old straw hat? With bright watercolors and a gentle tone to keep readers captivated, this clever story written and illustrated by Ken Brown poses a problem and offers a creative solution that young children will delight in discovering.

Honorable Mentions
Steering Toward Normal book
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Fly Away book
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Rabbit Hill book
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A Farm for Maisie book
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  1. Steering Toward Normal - Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: He’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of July, the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light the secret that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half brother, who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances at the State Fair, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop. What started out great quickly turns into the worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their steers, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and change their concept of family as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.

  2. Fly Away - While in North Dakota helping her Aunt Frankie prepare for a possible flood, Lucy finds her voice as a poet with the help of her two-year-old brother Teddy, the rest of their family, and a few cows.

  3. Rabbit Hill - It has been a while since Folks lived in the Big House, and an even longer time has passed since there has been a garden at the House. All the animals of the Hill are very excited about the new Folks moving in, and they wonder how things are going to change. It’s only a matter of time before the animals of the Hill find out just who is moving in, and they may be a little bit surprised when they do.

  4. A Farm for Maisie - Meet adorable sheepdog Maisie in this follow-up to the picture book phenomenon The SheepOver! When Maisie Grace the puppy arrives at Moonrise Farm, she’s excited about her new home but overwhelmed by all the bustling activity around her. She learns about each animal’s job: the chickens lay eggs, the pony pulls a cart for Farmer John, and the sheep make lots of soft wool for blankets and warm clothes. But what will Maisie’s job be? With the help of older dog Laddie and her new friends, Maisie realizes how she can help—she’s going to be a sheepdog! This charming story by John and Jennifer Churchman, featuring their photo-illustrations of the real animals on their bustling Vermont farm including fan favorites Sweet Pea from The Sheepover and Finn from Brave Little Finn, celebrates the joy of finding just where you belong.

Books About Rural Living and 20th Century

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Out of the Dust
Written by Karen Hesse
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 11-14

Out of the Dust joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

“Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . .”

A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo’s life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can’t talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better — playing the piano — is impossible with her wounded hands.

To make matters worse, dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of Oklahoma — and in the surprising landscape of her own heart.

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Preaching to the Chickens
Written by Jabari Asim & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Critically acclaimed author Jabari Asim and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator E. B. Lewis give readers a fascinating glimpse into the boyhood of Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

John wants to be a preacher when he grows up—a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice.

Celebrating ingenuity and dreaming big, this inspirational story, featuring Jabari Asim’s stirring prose and E. B. Lewis’s stunning, light-filled impressionistic watercolor paintings, includes an author’s note about John Lewis, who grew up to be a member of the Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and demonstrator on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. John Lewis is now a Georgia congressman, who is still an activist today, recently holding a sit-in on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol to try to force a vote on gun violence. His March: Book Three recently won the National Book Award, as well as the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King Author Award, Printz Award, and Sibert Award.

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Lord of the Mountain
Written by Ronald Kidd
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Nate’s family has a secret, and it’s wrapped up in a song. The problem is, his preacher father hates music, and when he catches Nate hanging around downtown Bristol with musicians like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, he comes down hard on him. So Nate sets out in search of himself and the song he thinks will heal his family. Set during the “big bang” of country music in the late 1920s, Nate’s journey of self-discovery parallels that of a region finding its voice for the first time.

Honorable Mentions
Dear Hank Williams book
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Strawberry Girl book
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Miracles on Maple Hill book
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Hoodoo book
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  1. Dear Hank Williams - It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment—learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits. Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award–winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

  2. Strawberry Girl - The land was theirs, but so were its hardships Strawberries — big, ripe, and juicy. Ten-year-old Birdie Boyer can hardly wait to start picking them. But her family has just moved to the Florida backwoods, and they haven′t even begun their planting. “;Don′t count your biddies ′fore they′re hatched, gal young un!”; her father tells her. Making the new farm prosper is not easy. There is heat to suffer through, and droughts, and cold snaps. And, perhaps most worrisome of all for the Boyers, there are rowdy neighbors, just itching to start a feud.

  3. Miracles on Maple Hill - Marly’s father came back from the war a different man. Something inside him seems as cold and dead as the winter world outside. But when the family moves to Grandma’s old house on Maple Hill, miracles begin to happen. The sap in the trees begins to rise, the leaves begin to turn, and Marly’s father starts to bloom again, like the world around them. This wise and moving story is a must-have for every reader’s library.

  4. Hoodoo - Winner of the 2016 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can’t seem to cast a simple spell. When a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first. Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.

Books About Rural Living and Music

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Old Manhattan Has Some Farms
Written by Susan Lendroth & illustrated by Kate Endle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A clever new spin on “Old MacDonald,” this fun book explores the popular trend of urban farming. From rooftop farms and gardens on Manhattan high rises to neighborhood gardens in empty lots in Atlanta to hydroponic gardens in Seattle, growing food locally has become an important part of city-dwelling life.

Set to the tune of the popular children’s song, this bouncy rhyming text will get everyone reading (or singing) out loud. If you’re not comfortable singing aloud, download the free recording of the song created by popular children’s performer Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew, lead singer and songwriter for the band The Presidents of the United States of America). Six North American cities are highlighted, but included in the back matter are tips and tricks on how to alter the text so you can sing about your own hometown gardens.

Back matter also includes more information about the different types of gardens introduced, additional resources, and the sheet music for the song.

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Beginners Welcome
Written & illustrated by Cindy Baldwin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The acclaimed author of Where the Watermelons Grow is back with a story perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, about finding friendship after a tragic loss.

It’s been eighty-three days since Annie Lee’s daddy died, but she still sees reminders of him everywhere. His record player mysteriously plays his favorite songs, there’s shaving cream in the sink every morning, and the TV keeps flipping to the Duke basketball games he loved.

She knows Mama notices it too, but Mama’s been working around the clock to make ends meet. To make matters worse, Annie Lee’s friends ditched her over the summer. She feels completely alone—until she meets Mitch.

Though Mitch is tough and confident on the outside, she may need a friend just as badly as Annie Lee. But after losing so much, Annie Lee is afraid to let anyone get too close.

And Mitch isn’t the only friend trying to break through Annie Lee’s defenses. Ray, an elderly pianist who plays at a local mall, has been giving her piano lessons. His music is pure magic, and Annie Lee hopes it might be the key to healing her broken heart. But when Ray goes missing, searching for him means breaking a promise to Mitch.

Faced with once again losing those who mean the most to her, Annie Lee must make a choice: retreat back into her shell, or risk admitting how much she needs Mitch and Ray—even if it means getting hurt all over again.

Just like in her debut, Where the Watermelons Grow, Cindy Baldwin brings her signature twist of magic to this authentically heartfelt story.

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Coat of Many Colors
Written by Dolly Parton & illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-99

Dolly Parton lends the lyrics of her classic song “Coat of Many Colors” to this heartfelt picture book for young readers.

Country music legend Dolly Parton’s rural upbringing in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee provides the backdrop for this special picture book. Using lyrics from her classic song “Coat of Many Colors,” the book tells the story of a young girl in need of a warm winter coat. When her mother sews her a coat made of rags, the girl is mocked by classmates for being poor. But Parton’s trademark positivity carries through to the end as the girl realizes that her coat was made with love “in every stitch.” Beautiful illustrations pair with Parton’s poetic lyrics in this heartfelt picture book sure to speak to all young readers.

Honorable Mentions
Just Dance book
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Lorraine book
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  1. Just Dance - “[A] memorable story.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) From Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan comes a “quiet tale about finding your own voice” (Kirkus Reviews) while learning to understand the people you love the most. Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her husband Sheriff Ludolf’s column in the newspaper for the summer, reporting on all the important events that happen in their small Wyoming town. Sylvie is thrilled to have a new challenge, but she’s not sure she’ll actually see anything amazing. At least nothing like the things her mother saw when she traveled the world as a famous opera singer. Sylvie can’t figure out why her mother would give up singing in front of thousands of people. Have she and her brother Nate been holding her mother back? And when her mother’s old duet partner James Grayson writes that he’s coming to perform nearby, will she be tempted to return to the stage, without them?

  2. Lorraine - The songs they sang always lifted their spirits—on good days or bad it was joyful to hear it.And even when storms hit those Tennessee hills,the music they played made their worries stand still.Grammy Award-winning, founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show, Ketch Secor, and award-winning illustrator Higgins Bond bring an Americana fable to life in this bold, sweeping story. Pa Paw and Lorraine spend their days celebrating life with the music of the Tennessee hills. But when a fearsome storm rolls through, the two must rely on the power of music to get them through.

Want to see books about music?

Books About Rural Living and Farm Animals

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Duck on a Bike
Written & illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One day down on the farm, Duck got a wild idea. “I bet I could ride a bike,” he thought. He waddled over to where the boy parked his bike, climbed on and began to ride. At first he rode slowly and he wobbled a lot, but it was fun! Duck rode past Cow and waved to her. “Hello, Cow!” said Duck. “Moo,” said Cow. But what she thought was, “A duck on a bike? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen!”

And so Duck rides past sheep, horse, and all the other barnyard animals. Suddenly, a group of kids ride by on their bikes and run into the farmhouse, leaving the bikes outside. Now ALL the animals can ride bikes, just like Duck!

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Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep: A Yarn About Wool
Written by Teri Sloat & illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Farmer Brown was shearing sheep, piling up a snowy heap of wool that filled his shed, knee-deep…” But when the temperature drops, his shivering sheep see all their wool in sacks—and “BAAA!” they cry. “WE WANT IT BACK!” Young listeners will enjoy chiming in on this hilarious read-aloud as Farmer Brown’s sheep track down their wool. As the farmer goes form one neighbor to the next, his sheep discover how their fleece changes when it’s cleaned, carded, spun into yarn, and dyed. Can they get it back? It’s the tender-hearted Farmer Brown himself who comes up with the surprise solution. “Now each year, come shearing time, the sheep wait eagerly in line, to feel the clip and hear the buzz, and wear bright sweaters over fuzz.”

Author Biography: Teri Sloat is no stranger to sheep and other farm animals; she and her husband have raised many themselves. Ms. Sloat is the author and illustrator of several picture books, in addition to having written two previous books about Farmer Brown. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Sebastopol, California.

Nadine Bernard Westcott has also raised sheep and lived through the process of making yarn from fleece. Her funny pictures can be found in countless popular picture books, including those about Farmer Brown. She lives on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts.

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Big Red Barn
Written by Margaret Wise Brown & illustrated by Felicia Bond
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

Margaret Wise Brown’s simple, rhythmic text about the cycle of a day on a farm, where a family of animals peacefully plays and sleeps, has charmed generations of children. This board book edition features sturdy pages and is just the right size for toddlers.

As in her classic Goodnight Moon, Brown engages children and helps settle them down for sleep as they follow along with the animals from morning to night in the barnyard.

In the barnyard there are roosters and cows, horses and goats, and a pink piglet who is learning to squeal. Felicia Bond’s atmospheric illustrations add to the tranquil simplicity of this gentle story.

Big Red Barn makes a lovely baby shower gift and is a wonderful addition to any preschooler’s library.

Honorable Mentions
Tornado book
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Maisy's Morning on the Farm book
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The Little Red Hen book
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If You See a Cow book
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  1. Tornado - From Newbery Medal-winning author Betsy Byars comes a sweet, entertaining story that will touch the heart of dog lovers at any age. A tornado appears in the distance, and the family quickly gathers into the storm cellar. The storm rages outside, but Pete, the farmhand, knows this is the perfect time to tell his stories about a dog named Tornado. Blown into their lives by a twister when Pete was a boy, Tornado was no ordinary dog—he played card tricks, saved a turtle’s life, and had a rivalry with the family cat. Forgetting their fear, the family hangs on every word of Pete’s stories—both happy and sad—of this remarkable dog.

  2. Maisy's Morning on the Farm - Help Maisy do her morning chores on the farm — and then join her for a yummy breakfast! Morning is a busy time on Maisy’s farm. In Maisy’s Morning on the Farm, there are chickens and pigs to feed, and the cow to milk. After the chores are finished, there’s just one more thing to do — eat a yummy breakfast!

  3. The Little Red Hen - Unaided by her three lazy animal companions, an industrious hen tends to all the chores on their New England farm.

  4. If You See a Cow - In this interactive novelty board book, little ones discover and react to the animals hidden behind a shaped flap on every spread. What should you do if you see a cow? Moo! Young readers will love following the instructions to make animal sounds and discovering which farm animal is hiding behind the flaps.

Books About Rural Living and Country Life

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Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile
Written by Gloria Houston & illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books, and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian. Dorothy’s dearest wish is to be a librarian in a fine brick library just like the one she visited when she was small. But her new home in North Carolina has valleys and streams but no libraries, so Miss Dorothy and her neighbors decide to start a bookmobile. Instead of people coming to a fine brick library, Miss Dorothy can now bring the books to them—at school, on the farm, even once in the middle of a river! Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile is an inspiring story about the love of books, the power of perseverance, and how a librarian can change people’s lives.

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A Year Down Yonder
Written by Richard Peck
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

During the recession of 1937, fifteen-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with her feisty, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois and comes to a better understanding of this fearsome woman. A Newbery Medal Winner & ALA Notable Book. Reprint.

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A Prairie Boy's Winter
Written by William Kurelek
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A young boy’s daily activities on a prairie farm in the winter reflect the author’s youth in Alberta, Canada, during the 1930s

Honorable Mentions
Apples and Pumpkins book
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The Rusty, Trusty Tractor book
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Country Babies Wear Plaid book
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Grandpa and Bo book
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  1. Apples and Pumpkins - In preparation for Halloween night, a family visits Mr. Comstock’s farm to pick apples and pumpkins.

  2. The Rusty, Trusty Tractor - Mr. Hill of Hill’s Tractor Sales bets Micah’s Grandpappy that his rusty old tractor won’t make it through another hay season, but Micah learns that Grandpappy’s tractor, like an old friend, doesn’t let him down.

  3. Country Babies Wear Plaid - Grab a picnic basket and a checkered tablecloth and join these urban tykes for a jaunt in the country. A parade of pastoral delights awaits.• From the creative team behind the hit Urban Babies Wear Black. • A winsome sequel delivers the “weekend dream” to the urban dweller.

  4. Grandpa and Bo - Bo was spending the summer with Grandpa. they walked and fished and made thing together. They celebrated Christmas together — a very special summer Christmas. But best of all, they talked and laughed and talked some more. And when they finally saw the shooting star at the end of the summer, there was no question the their wishes would be the same.

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