The best books about growing things

Phyllis Root Author Of Anywhere Farm
By Phyllis Root

The Books I Picked & Why

The Old Truck

By Jarrett Pumphrey, Jerome Pumphrey (

Book cover of The Old Truck

Why this book?

On a family farm, an old truck works long and hard. As the truck grows older, so does the young girl whose family owns the farm. When the truck is finally too worn out to work anymore, it rests and dreams. When the girl grows up and becomes a farmer, she works on the old truck until, Vroom, once again the truck is a working truck, helping the farmer on the farm. Created by two brothers who both wrote and illustrated the book (using more than 250 different stamps that they made) this book honors persistence and family.

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The Gardener

By Sarah Stewart, David Small

Book cover of The Gardener

Why this book?

Told through letters Lydia Grace writes home to her family, this is the story of a girl sent from the family farm to stay with her uncle in the city during the Depression. Lydia Grace’s Uncle Jim never smiles, but the flower seeds Lydia brings with her and plants bring smiles to other people’s faces. On the rooftop of the building, Lydia Grace plants a secret garden that, when her uncle sees it, brings a smile even to his face. The final art shows that even an unsmiling Uncle Jim has loved his niece all along.  

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And Then It's Spring

By Julie Fogliano, Erin E. Stead

Book cover of And Then It's Spring

Why this book?

Told in one long sentence, this is the story of a child and their dog who plant seeds after winter and wait and wait and wait for the brown ground to–finally–become green. The ongoing sentence resonates with waiting for hopeful signs that spring is on the way. 

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The Farmer

By Ximo Abadia

Book cover of The Farmer

Why this book?

First published in French and illustrated with wonderfully vivid art, this is a story of a farmer who works hard mowing, raking, digging, watering in his fields. He rejoices when things begin to grow, but a drought threatens all his hard work. The farmer is not alone, though, in his efforts, and the art shows the farm animals helping, followed by rain falling and bringing his fields to colorful and joyful abundance. Hard work matters, and so do friends.

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The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring

By Lucille Clifton, Brinton Turkle

Book cover of The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring

Why this book?

King Shabazz doesn’t believe in this spring that everybody is talking about, but he and his friend Tony Polita and set out through the city in search of it, finding spring in green growing sprouts with pointy yellow flowers in a vacant lot and a nest of eggs birds have made in an abandoned car. 

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