Agriculture + Lifestyle

Grow Your Summer Reading List!

Posted on May 15, 2019 12:00 AM

By Lauren Goble, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator 


We're right on the brink of summer which means the school year is about to come to a close! Whether your summer is filled with craft projects, going to camp, or trips to the beach—make time for reading and learning about agriculture! From knowing where your food comes from, to starting a garden—spend some diving into the process of how food grows and it's journey to the kitchen table. Afternoon story time is a great way to beat the heat and a creative way to add in a little learning while you're at it.


Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page.

This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow.

New city. New school. Michael is feeling all alone—until he discovers the school garden! There’s so many ways to learn, and so much work to do. Taste a leaf? Mmm, nice and tangy hot. Dig for bugs? “Roly-poly!” he yells. But the garden is much more than activities outdoors: making school garden stone soup, writing Found Poems and solving garden riddles, getting involved in community projects such as Harvest Day, food bank donations, and spring plant sales. Each season creates a new way to learn, explore and make friends.

Young Henry learns how a garden grows. This is a colorful, basic story of creating a garden. It could be an introduction to the youngest listeners when growing their own gardens.

Lily's grandparents move all the way across the country, but stay in touch with Lily by sending her plants and produce from their new home. Each spread deals with a new month and garden challenge for Lily. Her grandparents' advice helps her cope with the realistic challenges presented by managing a successful garden. This book is also a good exploration of seasonal changes.

This story is historical fiction of a day when Dr. George Washington Carver came to help Sally and her friends learn to plant in the poor soil of Alabama. Drawings of insects, plants and garden animals fill the front and back covers, with the scientific names included. The care of gardens such as preparing the soil and providing adequate sunlight is included briefly throughout the story. Weeds are defined as "uninvited plants". This is not a factual book on agriculture, but could be used to introduce Dr. Carver to young readers.

Will Allen is no ordinary farmer. A former basketball star, he's as tall as his truck, and he can hold a cabbage--or a basketball--in one hand. But what is most special about Farmer Will is that he can see what others can't see. When he looked at an abandoned city lot in Milwaukee he saw a huge table, big enough to feed the whole world.

A school class holds a contest to see who can grow the first peas of the season as they study Thomas Jefferson and his contributions to agriculture. The life cycle of the pea is illustrated and tips, such as soaking seed before planting, are shared. The differences between fruits and vegetables are also presented. This is a good book for children who would like to grow their own food at home. Winner of the 2016 AFBFA Book of the Year award!

Thomas Jefferson was more than a president and patriot. He was also a planter and gardener who loved to watch things grow—everything from plants and crops to even his brand-new nation. As minister to France, Jefferson promoted all things American, sharing corn and pecans with his Parisian neighbors. As secretary of state, he encouraged his fellow farmers to grow olives, rice and maple trees. As president, he doubled the size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase. Even in his retirement, Jefferson continued to nurture the nation, laying the groundwork for the University of Virginia. In this meticulously researched picture book for older readers, author Peggy Thomas uncovers Jefferson’s passion for agriculture and his country. 

This short book takes us on a year-long journey through a garden. Beginning in winter, the planning takes place for the next growing season. The story follows the activities of each season until we arrive back at winter and begin again.


Kathy Cothran
How can I get these books?
Lauren Lin
Hello Kathy--if you click on any of the books, they are linked to sites where the books are able t0 be purchased!