I’ve written about a number of garden books for the young over the past year. They are not how-to books although there are books that do lead a child into the garden with real instructions. My friend Kathryn Galbraith wrote Planting the Wild Garden and turned science into poetry. She reveals all the ways that Mother Nature spreads seeds over the landscape using the wind and rain, and hot sun that makes seed pods burst. The rivers and streams carry seeds long distances, and animals move sticky seeds from here to there and the birds drop seeds in their own inimitable way. Even we humans carry seeds when they stick to our sweaters and socks. Wendy Anderson Halperin created the beautiful delicate and accurate illustrations.
Kathryn takes a different tack in Arbor Day Square, the story of a family that was part of the pioneer move westward, building towns where there had only been grass and woods before. The young girl in the story knows that trees have more value than utility, they are for beauty too. As the story unfolds it is clear that trees are also about building community. A tender story that we can all identify with today. The illustrations by Cyd Moore are as bright and cheerful as a quilt.
For the very youngest potential gardeners Lois Ehlert has given us a board book that teaches colors and the rainbow sequence while showing bold stylized flowers.
When my five children were small the happiest part of my day was bedtime (so often the case for us busy mothers) when the children were bathed and in their jammies, and we could all sit down, and slow down, together to read. A whole wold of wonderful children’s books opened up for me and them at the same time. Then we acquired 9 grandchildren and when they visit we have moved on from my reading to them, to evenings of Reading Aloud when we all read to each other, and sometimes we even invite other guests to join us. We even have two great-granddaughters now. I have not had many opportunities to read to them, but as a new kindergarten student Bella is already to read aloud to us!
While I cannot claim that my book, The Roses at the End of the Road is suitable for bedtime reading for the young, it does work very well for us older gardeners. Right now, for those who buy it directly from me, I am offering a sale price of $12 and free shipping until the Twelfth Day of Christmas, January 6. It is also on sale at the Kindle Store for $3.95.
With these suggestions come my wishes for a happy Christmas and a year filled with happy hours of reading, about plants, and gardens, and gardeners, and every fascinating thing out in our beautiful world.