BOOK LOOK-December Book Picks


by Patrick Ryan, Education Specialist, Alaska Botanical Garden

New children’s picture books.

It’s that time of year when you’re probably shopping for just the right gift for your child, nieces and nephews and grandchildren. Might I suggest some great garden-themed picture books? Books are the gifts that can give pleasure for years to come.

Let me introduce you to:

Growing Good Kids – Excellence in Children’s Literature Book Awards Program

The Junior Master Gardener Program and the American Horticultural Society honor engaging, inspiring works of plant, garden and ecology-themed children’s literature through the “Growing Good Kids – Excellence in Children’s Literature Awards” Program.

Here are the 2017 winners. Previous years are listed on the website (see below).


Secrets of the Vegetable Garden

By Carron Brown

Illustrated by Giordano Poloni


Shine a light behind the special pages of Secrets of the Vegetable Garden to reveal a plethora of insects and plants living between the stalks, beneath the leaves, and under the soil of the vegetable garden. A glossary at the end of the book presents a few more facts about the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden.


Because of an Acorn

By Lola M. Schaefer & Adam Schaefer

Illustrated by Fran Preston-Gannon


Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower. Enchanting die-cuts illustrate the vital connections between the layers of an ecosystem in this magical picture book. Wander down the forest path to learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in spiraling circles of life. An acorn is just the beginning.


Sleep Tight Farm

By Eugenie Doyle Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander


A captivating exploration of how a family gets a farm ready for the snow of winter, Sleep Tight Farm lyrically connects each growing season to the preparations at the very end of the farm year. This beautiful and informative book paints a fascinating picture of what winter means to the farm year and to the family that shares its seasons, from spring’s new growth, summer’s heat, and fall’s bounty to winter’s well-earned rest. All year long the farm has worked to shelter us, feed us, keep us warm, and now it’s time to sleep.


Good Trick Walking Stick

By Sheri Mabry Illustrated by Jonny Lambert


From eggs buried in an ant colony under the Winter snow, to the shedding of exoskeletons, to growing a replacement appendage, the amazing insect introduced in Good Trick Walking Stick will fascinate budding entomologists and nature lovers of all ages.


The Night Gardener

By Terry Fan & Eric Fan


One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.


For more information, and to see a list of previous winners, go to

There are many resources on the Internet. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Growing Minds


The Collective School Garden Network

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