Children’s Books To Inspire Theme Gardens

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In a previous post at Growing with Science blog on theme gardens, I promised to dig up (ugh!) some relevant children’s books to inspire creativity in the garden.

Note: Linked titles go to Amazon for further information and reviews. Just so you know, I am an affiliate with Amazon. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, the proceeds of which will help pay for maintaining this website.

1. ABC Gardens:

Can you find a flower or vegetable to represent every letter of the alphabet? Or grow a garden in the shape of a letter?

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Reading age: ‎ Baby – 3 years
Publisher: ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers; First edition (April 1, 1996)
ISBN-10: ‎ 015201036X
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0152010362

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable Alphabet by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford

Reading age: ‎ Baby – 3 years
Publisher: ‎ Rodale Kids; Illustrated edition (September 19, 2017)
ISBN-10: ‎ 1623368707
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1623368708

2. Rainbow Gardens or Planting By Color Grow plants to add all the colors of a rainbow. Add to the theme by planting in a rainbow shape. Or create a garden of all one color.

Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes by Rosalind Creasy, and illustrated by Ruth Heller

If you are interested in planting a rainbow garden this book could be a helpful resource. Ruth Heller is definitely one of our favorite authors and illustrators.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 11 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Sierra Club Books for Children; Reprint edition (July 1, 2000)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0871569191
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0871569196

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

This beautiful book lists many flowers of different colors.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ Baby – 3 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers; Brdbk edition (June 1, 2003)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780152046330
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0152046330

3. Animal Gardens
Grow a garden to encourage butterflies, pollinators, or wildlife.

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert

Lios Ehlert seems to be dominating this category, but for good reason. This would be a perfect inspiration for a butterfly garden.

Reading age ‏: ‎ 4 – 7 years
Publisher : ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers; First edition (April 1, 2001)
ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 0152026088
ISBN-13 ‏: ‎ 978-0152026080

A Garden to Save the Birds by Wendy McClure and illustrated by Beatriz Mayumi

Reading age ‏: ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏: ‎ Albert Whitman & Company (April 1, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 080752753X
ISBN-13 ‏: ‎ 978-0807527535

Begin with a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and Phyllis Root, illustrated by Claudia McGehee

Grow a garden to help save the rusty-patched bumble bee.

Reading age: ‎ 4 – 9 years
Publisher: ‎ Univ Of Minnesota Press (May 25, 2021)
ISBN-10: ‎ 1517908043
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1517908041

4. Food Themes – Grow the ingredients for your favorite foods.

Grow Your Own Pizza: Gardening Plans and Recipes for Kids by Constance Hardesty, Jeff McClung (Illustrator)

The title says it all for this fun book.

Reading age ‏: ‎ 8 years and up
Publisher ‏: ‎ Fulcrum Publishing; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2000)
ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 1555913989
ISBN-13 ‏: ‎ 978-1555913984

Gardening with Children by Beth Richardson

This book for adults gardening with children tells how to grow a pizza garden, among other things.

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert

Here Lois Ehlert is again. There is a reason we keep going back to these classics.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ Baby – 3 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Clarion Books; First edition (March 15, 1990)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0152325808
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0152325800

What’s better than a pie garden?

Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat

Follow the progress of a pumpkin patch through the seasons while finding items from the alphabet. For example, in the field where the pumpkins are being planted, “a” is for ant and “b” is for beetle.

5. Story Book Gardens

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Cristina Bjork, Lena Anderson (Illustrator), Joan Sandin (Translator)

If you are interested in art, artists, Monet, nature, gardening or traveling to Paris, this is the book for you. Definitely inspires me to want to grow a “Monet Garden” of my own. Beautiful, sweet, and informative, I keep our copy with the art books, but it wants to be with the nature and gardening books, too.

Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Need I say more?

6. Heritage or Cultural Gardens

Corn Is Maize by Aliki

This older picture book is part of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. It has a wealth of information about many aspects of corn, including how it was first domesticated.

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

A Chinese-American girl wishes her mother’s garden was more like her neighbors’ gardens. That is, until her mother uses the vegetables to make soup.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Charlesbridge; 1st edition (July 1, 2001)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1570914915
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1570914911

7. Forts/Huts

Grow places to hide and play inside.

Sunflower House by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

A young boy plants the seeds in a large circle to grow a sunflower house. When the plants are tall enough, he invites his friends over to play in it. The text is written in rhyme.

Adult nonfiction books for gardening with children:

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy

This is the classic book on gardening with children. As you can tell from the title, Lovejoy has many fun and creative ideas about gardening, including theme gardens.

A Child’s Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children by Molly Dannenmaier

The hardcover copy I have says “Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents.” Enchanting is the right word. Mixed with informative text about how children play and how important it is for them to play outdoors, are photos of fairytale settings for children to play in. On pages 158-159 is a photo and list of the plants in the George Washington River farm alphabet garden.


See our list of books for gardening with children, as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.