The Gardener

By Sarah Stewart, David Small (illustrator),

Book cover of The Gardener

Book description

The Gardener is a 1997 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book.

From the author-and-illustrator team of the bestselling The Library.

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

2 authors picked The Gardener as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

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.

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.  

From Phyllis' list on growing things.

Want books like The Gardener?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like The Gardener.

Browse books like The Gardener

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gardening, seeds, and the Great Depression?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gardening, seeds, and the Great Depression.

Gardening Explore 86 books about gardening
Seeds Explore 20 books about seeds
The Great Depression Explore 129 books about the Great Depression