Ten Reason Your Kids Should Participate in a Summer Reading Program

by Rebecca J. Gomez When my kids were young, summer reading programs were a sure thing. For the most part, my children were avid readers, especially my girls. A summer reading program wasn't necessary to encourage them to read, but we participated because it was a fun addition to summer. And the free pizza, books, and water park tickets definitely didn't hurt! There are lots of reasons to participate in a summer reading program or challenge, and here are ten of them: 1. Many summer reading programs offer prizes. And while we all know that reading is its own reward, some kids haven't figured that out yet. For those kids, a prize is just the incentive they need to stick their noses in a book now and then over the summer. 2. It's a fun way to reward those kids who will be reading no matter what! 3. For some families, trips to the library may help break up summer monotony.  4. Summer reading programs promote reading together as a family, especially for those with very young

12 MORE Picture Books About Gardens

In our last post, we shared tips for helping young readers bloom. Just as gardens need tending and individualized care, so do readers! If you missed that post, you can find it here! In keeping with the gardening theme, and to continue our celebration of spring, we have a list of 12 More Picture Books About Gardening. And don't miss our other gardening list, 12 Picture Books About Gardening. Perhaps these stories will inspire you and your young readers to create a garden of your own!

Ideas for things do discuss:
  • Do you enjoy working in the dirt? Why or why not?
  • If you could plant anything you wanted, what would it be? 
  • Have you ever grown anything from a seed? If so, what was it?
  • What kinds of things can go in a garden besides plants?
Ideas for things to do: 
  • Visit a garden in your community. Go during different times of the year and note which flowers are in bloom.
  • Grow an herb garden that you can use in your kitchen. Basil is really easy to grow from seeds!
  • Go to a garden center and choose some flowers to plant in your yard. 
  • Hang a bird feeder in your yard or garden. You could even make your own using a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seed. Hang it from a tree and watch the birds feast!
  • Plant something that will attract pollinators to your yard. If you're not sure, visit a nursery or garden center and ask for advice.
And now for the list!

Mary Had a Little Plan by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. 

When Mary sees an abandoned lot, she works to gather her neighbors together to make it into a community garden that everyone can enjoy.

Behold Our Magical Garden: Poems Fresh From a School Garden by Allan Wolf, illustrated by Daniel Duncan. 

This is a wonderful collection of playful poetry centered around the theme of a garden at school. Filled with Incredibly creative poetry that will make you smile.

Jayden’s Impossible Garden by Mélina Mangal, illustrated by Ken Daley. 

Jayden creates a magical secret fort garden in the middle of the city. The back matter includes two how-to projects using recycled materials. This book will inspire you and your child to plant something together and watch it sprout and grow.

There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lissy Stewart 

This book shows that the best cure for boredom is your imagination. Nora’s grandma suggests that Nora play in her garden and look for a tiger. Nora hesitantly follows her grandma’s suggestion, and… spoiler alert: she finds the tiger!

Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand by Jennifer Bradbury, illustrated by Sam Boughton. 

This is the true story of a man from Chandigarh, India who created a hidden art garden from the bits and bangles he collected on the city streets. Although Nek is no longer alive, his beautiful creation exists today and has become one of India’s treasures.

Toot & Puddle: How Does Your Garden Grow by Holly Hobbie

This book features three adorable characters named Toot, Puddle, and Opal. They have to figure out who is nibbling things in their garden and what to do about it.

Planting the Wild Garden written by Katherine O Galbraith, by Wendy Anderson Halperin

This story begins with the purposeful actions of gardeners planting seeds and transitions into wind, rain, and animals planting a wild garden by relocating seeds and growing natural vegetation—a wild garden grown in nature full of grasses, trees, wild flowers, and berries.

The Rough Patch by Brian Lies

When a gardener destroys his garden after a loss, he discovers that life still grows—even if he wanted it to be sad. The ending brings redemption and love for the life cycle.

Pick, Pull, Snap! Where Once a Flower Bloomed written by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George

This book describes the process of plants flowering, creating seeds, and bearing fruit, turning each page into a garden. The art is photo-like and takes you to the end result of foods such as raspberries, peas, peaches, etc. There are growing instructions for the featured plants in the back matter.

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

This magical book is about the effect a mysterious gardener has on a community by secretly creating fantastical topiaries out of plants overnight.

The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill. 

A sweet story about a young girl's friendship with her neighbor, and how she helps tend the garden even after the neighbor moves away and a new family moves in.

Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery, illustrated by Jessie Hartland. 

This is a delightful book about a community, particularly one man and many children, came together to build a community garden.


Do you have any favorite books about gardens or gardening? We'd love to hear about them!