Growing Seeds and Readers: Gardening Through Books


In our home, planting a garden starts with reading books. Before we till the soil and sort our seed packets, we gather our favorite children’s garden books and read through them. We soak up the pages of Miss Rumphius, A Seed is Quiet, or Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, and imagine the exciting possibilities for our modest backyard containers and raised beds.


Perhaps it’s inspiration or encouragement we’re looking for when we first turn to our beloved garden books as winter melts into spring. The words and illustrations of beautiful books bring life to a child’s mind and soul like newly planted seeds bring life to a garden. Through reading, children are learning to understand others’ ideas and also how to form new ideas of their own. We as parents experience deep satisfaction and joy when we help and witness our children unearth the wonder and excitement contained in books.


The beauty of combining reading and gardening is that children are developing much more than just their minds. By starting plants from seeds, children can observe different seed sizes and shapes. Planting the seeds develops their fine motor skills, and watering and tending to their seedlings each day encourages responsibility and ownership.


Reading can even develop virtue in our children and teach them empathy and patience, as they, like the characters in their books, wait for their sprouts to emerge from the soil. And when it’s time to reap their harvest, they all share and understand the joy of a job well done.

Whether you begin at the library, or slowly put together a personal collection of delightful children’s garden books, weave reading into your planting and harvesting season for inspiration and education. Your children will identify the life cycle of seeds, learn new vocabulary, try different fruits and vegetables, and become both readers and gardeners.


Here in San Francisco, space may be limited, but our imaginations don’t have to be! Does your family have outdoor space? Or a nice sunny windowsill? A few flower seeds in a pot may be the place to start! Does your family already garden? We’d love to hear what kind of plant and garden projects have worked for you! What are your family’s other favorite springtime traditions?

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360 9th Avenue

San Francisco, California 94118

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