The best children’s books about gardening to make a difference in the world

Lisa Doseff Author Of Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden
By Lisa Doseff

Who am I?

I’ve always enjoyed both gardening and children. As a former Virginia Master Gardener and Homeschool mom, and a current Lancaster National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, I now find myself encouraging others to look at gardening in a new light – not only as a way to decorate their yards, but also as a means to provide habitat for our diminishing wildlife population. I try to show how you can have both beauty and function at the same time and how much fun it is to engage children in this essential activity. I love books that show what a difference one person – even a young child – can make in the world.


I wrote...

Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden

By Lisa Doseff,

Book cover of Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden

What is my book about?

A Gentle Blueprint for Engaging Children in Creating an Enchanting Garden for Wildlife!

If you’re looking for inspiration to create a natural habitat of your own, or simply want to spark a love of nature in youngsters, join Grandma Lisa as she transforms her garden into a wildlife sanctuary with the help of her curious and eager grandchildren. Told in rhyme from a child’s perspective, children will enjoy learning about the benefits of native plants and insects, as well as important concepts such as host plants, food webs, and so much more. But be prepared…you just may find yourself pulling on your garden gloves, picking up a shovel, and heading outdoors to bring nature into the little piece of the planet where you live.

The books I picked & why

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The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

By Sophia Gholz, Kayla Harren (illustrator),

Book cover of The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

Why this book?

I am moved by how, in spite of his sadness and grief at the loss of his surrounding natural environment and the animals that lived there, Jadav decides to do something about it. He shows how, by taking one small step at a time, each of us has the ability to make a tremendous impact on improving our natural world. It gives me great hope that young readers will be inspired to care for our common home and restore our troubled planet, one plant at a time.


Miss Rumphius

By Barbara Cooney,

Book cover of Miss Rumphius

Why this book?

I have absolutely loved this beautiful story since I first read it to my children nearly 40 years ago! As someone who also wanted to see the world and then settle down, like Alice in the story, I knew that I also “must do something to make the world more beautiful.” And, like Alice, who finally figures out what that could be when she is an older woman, my epiphany came once my children were grown and gone. Sharing a love of nature with Miss Rumphius, I credit her with being part of the inspiration which spurs me on to restore natural habitat, giving me so much happiness along the way.


The Gardener

By Sarah Stewart, David Small (illustrator),

Book cover of The Gardener

Why this book?

I am inspired by this lovely story! When Lydia Grace finds herself going to the city to live with her grumpy uncle during hard times, she seeks to find a way to make him smile. Having had a few ‘challenging people’ in my own life who I tried to cajole out of their funky moods, I love how her indomitable spirit and love of gardening cheers those around her, all while she makes a wonderful surprise out of the very little that she has. It shows that beauty can be found – or planted – in the most unexpected places.


Waiting for a Warbler

By Sneed B. Collard III, Thomas Brooks (illustrator),

Book cover of Waiting for a Warbler

Why this book?

Owen’s garden is like my own! Both our yards are graced with big, old, native trees and we’ve planted additional species of native trees, shrubs, and flowers in the hopes of attracting our avian friends. Like Owen, my hope is that these plants will provide for the birds we love to watch, as well as draw the insects that make healthy meals for them. While I’ve never seen a cerulean blue warbler, I love watching other various birds that visit our garden, especially the great horned owls!


Plant a Pocket of Prairie

By Phyllis Root, Betsy Bowen (illustrator),

Book cover of Plant a Pocket of Prairie

Why this book?

As I garden and explore our yard with my grandchildren, together, we have fun continually learning which plants provide for our various wildlife visitors. This beautifully illustrated story shows how each of us, in planting certain native plants can draw the animal friends that rely upon the various flora that used to cover our prairies. I can very much relate to wanting to add more and more plants to my garden so that I attract more and more species of wildlife. The only drawback to this story…it does not help to keep my ‘plant lust’ in check!


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in prairies, environmentalists, and birdwatching?

5,716 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about prairies, environmentalists, and birdwatching.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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