“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
Alary, Laura. What Grew in Larry’s Garden. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2020.
Gardens bring friendship and understanding. They build goodwill in a world often filled with fear and loneliness. This quietly gentle picture book illustrated by Kass Reich is based on the true story of a Toronto schoolteacher who showed his students how to grow tomato plants and share them with others. “We can figure this out,” he says over and over again to his young neighbour Grace when problems arise. Highly recommended for gardeners of all ages.
Bissonette, Aimée. Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress. Petaluma, California: Cameron Kids, 2020.
A young girl is swept away into an adventure in this gently imaginative tale. A circular story somewhat similar in style to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, this softly illustrated picture book is recommended for readers 6 to 9 years old who enjoy quiet humour.

Bouchard, David. Buddha in the Garden. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 2001.
[Buddhism; China; Foundlings]

Browne, Anthony. Voices in the Park. London: Picture Corgi Books, 1999.
An outing is told from four different points of view. A humorous story, useful for teaching point of view and vocabulary differences between Canada and England. [Dogs; England;Parks]

The Secret Garden

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. New York : Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1987, c1911.

“A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.” – FVRL. A classic novel for readers 8 to 12-years old.

Cassidy, Sarah. Windfall. Victoria, BC: Orca, 2011.
“Thirteen-year-old Liza, grieving the loss of a local homeless man and her family’s apple tree, seeks healing through gardening.” – CIP. [Gardening; Homelessness]

Ehlert, Lois. Planting a Rainbow. San Diego: Harcourt Inc., 1988.

“A mother and child plant a rainbow of flowers in the family garden.” – CIP. [Flowers; Gardening]

Jackal in the Garden

Ellis, Deborah. Jackal in the Garden: An Encounter with Bizhad. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2006.

“Born deformed, Anibus is considered cursed and is left in the desert to die, but after being rescued and raised in secret, she leads a nomadic life, finding acceptance with a colony of artists which includes Kamal al-Din Bihzad, the most famous master of Persian painting.” – CIP. An intriguing novel for avid readers 12-years-old and up. 

Henkes, Kevin. My Garden. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2010.
“After helping her mother weed, water, and chase the rabbits from their garden, a young girl imagines her dream garden complete with jellybean bushes, chocolate rabbits, and tomatoes the size of beach balls.” – CIP. [Gardens; Imagination]

Rabbit Hill

Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill. New York: Puffin Books, 2007, c1944.

“New folks are coming to live in the Big House. The animals of Rabbit Hill wonder if they will plant a garden and thus be good providers.” – WAFMS. This Newbery Honor Book is highly recommended for lovers of Charlotte’s Web.

Let’s Get Gardening: 30 Easy Gardening Projects for Children. New York: DK Publishing, 2019.
Nonfiction books by DK are always beautifully designed and this 128-page hardcover book is no expection. It’s a joyous introduction to planting vegetables, designing containers and welcoming nature into the garden. From growing herbs and sunflowers to building planters from eggshells and creating bee hotels, a multitude of ideas are illustrated with step-by-step coloured photos in this cheerful book for readers 8 to 12 years old.

Lies, Brian. The Rough Patch. New York: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
Everything is wonderful. Until it isn’t. Evan’s best friend – his dog – dies. And life becomes dark and angry. Until, in autumn, Evan takes a pumpkin from his garden and goes to the town fair. He sees some friends, wins a prize, and goes home with a new puppy. A story of loss and grief but also hope. A perfect picture book, told not only with words but also through illustrations. A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book. Recommended for readers 5 to 11 years old.

Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden. London: Puffin, 2005, c1958.

Edith. Tom’s Midnight Garden: a Graphic Adaptation of the Philippa Pearce Classic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London: F. Warne, c1987, 1902.

“Though forbidden to do so, Peter creeps into Mr. McGregor’s garden, is chased and nearly caught several times, finally finds his way out again, and is put to bed and dosed with tea.” – WAFMS.  This all-time classic is for readers – and listeners – of all ages. 

Reynolds, Peter H. Rose’s Garden. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2009.

Scott, Jordan. My Baba’s  Garden. New York: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, 2023.
How does the love of nature begin? For the little boy in this story, it begins with seeing his grandmother’s house filled with food from her garden: carrots, apples, garlic, beets, jars of pickles. It begins with walking to school with his grandmother and watching her rescue worms on rainy days. It begins with planting tiny tomato seeds in a small pot on a window sill. It begins with paying attention. A wonderfully evocative picture book based on the author’s childhood in Port Moody, British Columbia and illustrated by Sydney Smith. Highly recommended for children 5 to 10 years old. Highly recommended for readers learning how illustrations and words work together to tell a story. Highly recommended for readers of any age who want to learn how to include descriptive details in their writing.

Smith, Jeremy. Lily’s Garden of India. Columbus, Ohio: Gingham Dog Press, 2003.

“Lily discovers a new path in one of her favorite places, her mother’s exotic garden, and the plants there teach her about the culture, festivals, food, and drink of their homeland, India.” – CIP [Gardens; India; Plants]

Grandpa Green

Smith, Lane. Grandpa Green. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2011.

“A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden.” – WAFMS. The winner of multiple awards, this 2012 Caldecott Honor Book is an amusing yet thoughtful story for readers of all ages. 


Wilde, Oscar. The Selfish Giant. Minedition, 2015.

Winter, Jeanette. September Roses. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004.

” On September 11, 2001, two sisters from South Africa find a good use for the roses they have grown when the flower show in New York City is canceled due to the attack on the World Trade Center.” – CIP. [Gardens; New York; Roses; September 11 Terrorist Attack, 2001; Sisters]

‘Country Gardens’, a cheerful English folk tune arranged by Percy Grainger:

“It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled brown seeds and think of the rainbows in ’em,” said Captain Jim. “When I ponder on them seeds I don’t find it nowise hard to believe that we’ve got souls that’ll live in other worlds. You couldn’t hardly believe there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than grains of dust, let alone colour and scent, if you hadn’t seen the miracle, could you?”

–  L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

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