The best farm books

37 authors have picked their favorite books about farms and why they recommend each book.

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All the Places to Love

By Patricia MacLachlan, Michael Wimmer (illustrator),

Book cover of All the Places to Love

No matter how young or old, everyone needs a timeless picture book about the best of hearth and home. The illustrations by Mike Wimmer are breathtaking and inviting. Patricia MacLachlan’s carefully chosen words reflect the relationship glue that creates connecting and belonging within families. No matter how old you are, All the Places to Love is a touch point for the heart.


Who am I?

“Eminently quotable, PeggySue Wells is a tonic — warm like your favorite blanket, bracing like a stiff drink.”

History buff and tropical island votary, PeggySue parasails, skydives, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. The bestselling author of 30 books including the What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, PeggySue’s most challenging and rewarding adventure was solo parenting seven children. With one in four homes single mom-led, PeggySue teamed with Pam Farrel to offer practical help and tangible tips to moms navigating parenting solo.


I wrote...

The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: A Biblical Guide for Navigating Family Life on Your Own

By Pam Farrel, PeggySue Wells,

Book cover of The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: A Biblical Guide for Navigating Family Life on Your Own

What is my book about?

No matter how you became a single mom, you share the same challenges and fears all parents have. You may feel stretched to the limit. You may suspect your children need more than you're able to give. How are you going to do this on your own?

With humor, Scripture, and sage advice, Pam Farrel (child of a single mother) and PeggySue Wells (single parent of 7 children) show you how to be decisive, create a nurturing home, be proactive, date wisely, pray for your child, embrace your happily-ever-after, and more. You are capable of parenting your children with courage, confidence, and clarity. This loving, practical guide shows you how.

A Long Way from Paris

By E.C. Murray,

Book cover of A Long Way from Paris

Written in an engaging style, A Long Way from Paris centers on a young women's experiences living with a small family and working as a goat herder in southern France in 1980.  Elizabeth soon discovers that it is hard work dealing with the animals, especially during the frigid winter months. The language barrier between her and the family adds an unwelcome layer of complexity to an already challenging experience.


Who am I?

Linda is an award-winning author and travel enthusiast. Her two-book memoir series, French Illusions, is based on her diaries from 1979 and 1980. She has completed an adaption of these books into a screenplay and is currently seeking representation. Originally from Seattle, Linda now resides in Saint Petersburg, Florida with her longtime husband near her youngest daughter and grandchildren. To this day, she tells people that she is thankful for her storybook life.


I wrote...

French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley

By Linda Kovic-Skow,

Book cover of French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley

What is my book about?

Most lies are told with the expectation that no one will uncover them. When Linda Kovic was twenty-one, she told a monumental, regrettable lie, fully aware hers would be discovered. Linda needs to learn a language fast to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. Yielding to poor judgment, she pretends to speak basic French and contracts to nanny for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. As she struggles to adapt to her challenging new environment with the hard-to-please Madame Dubois and her two incomprehensible children, Linda signs up and attends language classes at the local university. When she encounters, Adam, a handsome young student, her life becomes more complicated—much more complicated—adding fuel to her internal battle for independence.

Christmas Day in the Morning

By Pearl S. Bucks, Mark Buehner (illustrator),

Book cover of Christmas Day in the Morning

This touching tale, set on a farm, captures the timeless desire we all have to give the perfect gift to those we love. Rob learns the true meaning of love as he gives of himself, and finds a way to surprise his father. Buck has a beautiful way of showing rather than telling, and pulls us in with hope and vulnerability. A gift of love is the best gift of all, and Christmas is the perfect time to share this tender family story.

Who am I?

I’ve written dozens of plays and books, always with heart and humor. If you love Christmas, you know that it can also be a frenzied time, so we all need to curl up on a cozy night and read Christmas stories to bring back the magic and generosity of this special holiday. I like well-told tales that reaffirm the love we know is so important, stories that will mean just as much a hundred years from now. And surprise endings are always a delight!

I wrote...

A Little Christmas Prayer

By Joni Hilton,

Book cover of A Little Christmas Prayer

What is my book about?

A small village nestled in the shadow of a grand castle is brightened by the warmth and welcome of a local church. All are invited to come and pray, and come they do one Christmas Eve. Each villager has a prayer on their lips, even the king himself. Each one pleads for what they want. But a small boy who has known only poverty and struggle, has a heart full of thanks and says a prayer only of gratitude. Afraid of the king’s guards, he dashes away and the king mounts a search for this amazing child. Finally, he finds him, and life is changed for everyone.

Native

By Patrick Laurie,

Book cover of Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape

We are blessed right now with an abundance of farmers who have good stories to tell. Three hill farmers stand out: John Lewis-Stempel, James Rebanks, and Patrick Laurie, whose Native is so lyrical that it reads at times like a prose poem by Seamus Heaney. Laurie’s book is an account, season by season, of his relationship with a roughish bit of land in southwest Scotland. It is part love affair with his small farm, and the curlews and native Galloway cattle in which he has an obsessional interest, and part critique of modern farming and the industrial timber production that threatens much of the open moorland. Native is worth reading just for the quality of the prose, even if you’re not remotely interested in countryside matters.

Who am I?

I thought I was going to be a farmer, but some serious practical experience after I finished school put paid to that idea. I then focused my attention on conservation, before turning to travel writing. All of which led, eventually, to a growing interest in development issues and how people can make a living from the land. The result is over a dozen books, some of which are narrative-driven travelogues – many based on my experiences in Africa and elsewhere; and some of which focus on the nitty-gritty of agriculture, agroforestry, and related issues. My most recent book, Land of Plenty, provided a state of the nation account of British farming during the tumultuous year (for farmers, at least) when the UK voted to leave the EU.


I wrote...

Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields & Foods of Modern Britain

By Charlie Pye-Smith,

Book cover of Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields & Foods of Modern Britain

What is my book about?

A great many people are fascinated by food – just look at the viewing figures for programmes like MasterChef – but they often know little or nothing about our oldest and most important industry, which is agriculture. This was what stimulated me to write Land of Plenty. During the course of a year, I travelled the length and breadth of Britain talking to the people that supply us with our daily bread and butter, meat and fish, fruit and vegetables. There are certainly many things wrong with the way we use the land, but there is much to celebrate too. Land of Plenty is a homage to the people who have shaped our countryside.

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

By Janice N. Harrington, Shelley Jackson (illustrator),

Book cover of The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

I love the author’s use of language, “wash away the dreaming,” “as still as sunlight,” “plump as a Sunday purse,” and my favorite, “I stand so still even my shadow gets bored and starts to walk off.” And the bright artwork incorporating bits & pieces of textiles and buttons and a variety of papers is just the right background for a story about a girl determined to achieve her ultimate goal—catching the elusive Miss Hen. The facial expressions, both human and hen, are fabulous—especially Miss Hen’s sly look at the reader when she eludes her captor yet again. The way a self-declared chicken chaser’s attitude can change when faced with a brood of chicks is a sight to see!


Who am I?

I love increasing the diversity seen on our family’s bookshelves but also on the TBR (to-be-read) piles of relatives, babysitters, educators—everyone who might come across my little list of five books. I’m a very visual person, which is why picture books have always been my thing, even back in college when my roommate and I used to spend our study breaks in the children’s area of the public library reading stacks and stacks of picture books. It’s only natural, then, that my list should mix books written and illustrated by people of color* with my love for picture books. *with the exception of Mary Jo Udry and Eleanor Mill


I wrote...

All Kinds of Kindness

By Judy Carey Nevin, Susie Hammer (illustrator),

Book cover of All Kinds of Kindness

What is my book about?

There is so much kindness in the world! My book celebrates the special ways that kind acts can be big and noticeable or small and secret—it doesn’t matter, they’re all kind! From optimistic ideas of hope to small acts of goodwill, each page shows the heart of the story: kindness makes our world a better place. Readers are reminded of the many ways they can show kindness--from hugging someone afraid of a bug to making a card for a sick friend.

The Old Truck

By Jarrett Pumphrey, Jerome Pumphrey (,

Book cover of The Old Truck

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.

Who am I?

I write children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, including One Duck Stuck, Big Momma Makes the World, Rattletrap Car, Plant a Pocket of Prairie, and, in collaboration with Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Liza Ketchum, Begin With A Bee, a picture book about the federally endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. Recently I have been putting my garden to bed for the winter, pulling tomato vines, harvesting beans that have dried on the vine, cutting herbs, and planting cloves of garlic to grow into heads in next year’s garden. In a couple of months snow will bury the garden beds, and the only gardens will be in the pages of books. Here are five of the children’s books that I love about growing things.


I wrote...

Anywhere Farm

By Phyllis Root, G. Brian Karas (illustrator),

Book cover of Anywhere Farm

What is my book about?

You might think a farm means fields, tractors, and a barnyard full of animals. But you can plant a farm anywhere you like! A box or a bucket, a boot or a pan — almost anything can be turned into a home for green, growing things. Windows, balconies, and front steps all make wonderful spots to start. Who knows what plants you may choose to grow and who will come to see your new garden?

Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page. After all, anywhere can be a farm — all it takes is one small seed and someone to plant it.

The Farmer

By Ximo Abadia,

Book cover of The Farmer

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.


Who am I?

I write children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, including One Duck Stuck, Big Momma Makes the World, Rattletrap Car, Plant a Pocket of Prairie, and, in collaboration with Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Liza Ketchum, Begin With A Bee, a picture book about the federally endangered rusty-patched bumblebee. Recently I have been putting my garden to bed for the winter, pulling tomato vines, harvesting beans that have dried on the vine, cutting herbs, and planting cloves of garlic to grow into heads in next year’s garden. In a couple of months snow will bury the garden beds, and the only gardens will be in the pages of books. Here are five of the children’s books that I love about growing things.


I wrote...

Anywhere Farm

By Phyllis Root, G. Brian Karas (illustrator),

Book cover of Anywhere Farm

What is my book about?

You might think a farm means fields, tractors, and a barnyard full of animals. But you can plant a farm anywhere you like! A box or a bucket, a boot or a pan — almost anything can be turned into a home for green, growing things. Windows, balconies, and front steps all make wonderful spots to start. Who knows what plants you may choose to grow and who will come to see your new garden?

Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page. After all, anywhere can be a farm — all it takes is one small seed and someone to plant it.

Cross Creek

By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,

Book cover of Cross Creek

Marjorie Rawlings is best known for The Yearling, but her autobiographical Cross Creek paints a vivid picture of rural north/central Florida in the 1920s and 1930s. It describes both her hard-scrabble life and her endearing connections to the people who live in the quiet back-woods hamlet of Cross Creek. Remarkably, even today this area is sparsely populated. Rawlings’ circa-1890 home and the surrounding property are now the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Historic Site.


Who am I?

Bruce Hunt is a native Floridian writer and photographer. He has authored eleven Florida travel and history books, and over the last three decades has written and photographed hundreds of articles for magazines and newspapers. For five years he was a regular feature writer and photographer for DuPont Registry Tampa Bay Magazine. His work has also appeared in The St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay Times), Tampa Tribune, The Visit Tampa Bay Official Visitors Guide, Backpacker Magazine, Rock & Ice Magazine, Skydiving Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, Celebrity Car Magazine, Coastal Living Magazine, and Southern Living Magazine, among others.


I wrote...

Visiting Small-Town Florida

By Bruce Hunt,

Book cover of Visiting Small-Town Florida

What is my book about?

This 4th Edition of the Visiting Small-Town Florida travel guide features 79 charming, eclectic, and historic towns, tiny villages, and crossroads. Readers can tour historic districts, museums, galleries, and antique shops, and find quaint lodging, great local-cuisine diners, and hole-in-the-wall bar-and-grills. They can also learn about each town’s history and meet a few of the endearing characters that live in these places.

Simultaneously a guide book, history book, and travelogue, Visiting Small-Town Florida, 4th Edition lets the reader experience the flavor of Florida’s back road burgs, while having all the pertinent visitor information at their fingertips.

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

By Jon Katz,

Book cover of Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

This is a photo-illustrated version of Jon Katz’s bestselling memoir life with dogs on a picturesque upstate New York farm. I fell immediately for this charming picture book, where each dog has their own important job. Border collie Rose herds sheep. Second border collie Izzy (a rescue with a sad-then-happy history) is a therapy dog who visits hospitals and nursing homes. Tough-looking Frieda guards the farm. But what is Lenore’s job (goes the refrain)? We finally learn that the essential job of fun-loving black lab Lenore is simply to bring love and joy to everyone. This book is basically the equivalent of a warm cup of tea and a quilt on a blustery day.


Who am I?

I am a librarian and author living in San Francisco. Like many children, I grew up on dog books. I read and re-read Lassie Come Home and The Incredible Journey. James Herriot’s memoirs—many of which feature dogs—were my bedtime stories. Today, I often write about animals as a way to build empathy in child readers and teach the values of loyalty, kindness, and friendship. (My picture books include stories about dogs, alligators, wolves, and ducks!) Although I love a good cry over a book, I have chosen mostly happy books for this list of picture and middle-grade books about dogs. I hope the animal-loving child readers in your life enjoy them!


I wrote...

Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

By Emma Bland Smith, Carrie Salazar (illustrator),

Book cover of Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

What is my book about?

One October night in 2017, when wildfire raged in Sonoma and Napa counties, the Hendel family was suddenly evacuated from their farm and forced to leave behind their Great Pyrenees dog, Odin. Odin refused to leave his post of guarding the family’s goats, despite the family’s desperate attempts to lead him away. Brokenhearted, the Hendels were sure they would never see their dog again.

But when the family returned home, to their shock they found Odin singed yet safe, along with all the goats and several orphaned deer the dog had protected as well. Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires is a touching and inspirational true tale that honors the bravery and strength of Odin and commemorates the stories of those affected by the Tubbs Fire.

Charlotte's Web

By E.B. White,

Book cover of Charlotte's Web

Charlotte’s Web was the first book that made me realize how powerful a book could be, and that was because it made me cry. I was very young at the time, but I remember being so shocked that just a bunch of words on pieces of paper had made me sob! It still makes me cry today. A truly wonderful book.


Who am I?

My biggest aim as a writer is for my reader to feel something. It could be on a page where they are fighting back the tears or at the end of a chapter where they are gasping at an unexpected plot twist. I think we can sometimes forget how powerful children’s books can be – yes, they can make you cry, laugh, gasp and feel scared! Here are some of my favorites that will make you have all the feelings.


I wrote...

The Light Jar

By Lisa Thompson,

Book cover of The Light Jar

What is my book about?

Nate and his mother are fleeing from a bad situation at home. They hide out in an abandoned, run-down cottage in the middle of a forest and Nate's mother heads off for groceries. She doesn't return. Has she run into trouble, or abandoned him? He is alone and afraid, with the dark – and all his old fears – closing in on him. But comfort can come from the most unexpected of places: like a strange girl trying to solve a treasure hunt, and the reappearance of a friend from his past. Will Nate find the bravery he needs to face down his fears and illuminate his future? From the author of The Goldfish Boy, comes a captivating story of finding the light within.

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