I use my own website for planning, and as I was planning my unit on gardening, I went to pull up my booklist of gardening books for preschool, and … it didn’t exist! I thought for sure I had a good list of picture books about gardening and non-fiction books for preschoolers about plants and plant life cycles, but it was only in my head. So I fixed that. I wrote this list of gardening books for preschool with lessons, science tables, and student engagement in mind. These are the books my preschool and PreK students have loved over the years and the ones I use over and over while teaching preschool lessons about plant life and gardening.
What are some great books about gardening for preschoolers?
For me, the best books about plants for preschoolers are the ones that don’t just teach but entertain as well. For children to stay engaged, especially preschoolers, the story has to be interesting.
Up, Down, and Around by Kathrine Ayres is a great gardening book for preschool. Corn grows up. Carrots grow down. Cucumbers climb around and around. Preschoolers will enjoy this rhyming gardening book as it explores with a family how different plants grow in their garden: up, down, and around. Along the way, your preschoolers will learn a bunch of plant names and if they grow above ground or below. A great addition to any preschool library!
A Gardener’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian is a stunningly beautiful alphabet book. The main benefit of this book is, is that the words chosen for each letter are not the same old ones you see over and over in alphabet books. The words highlighted for each letter include Japanese Garden for J, Lawn Ornaments for L, and my favorite was Underground for U with cool illustrations of worms, root vegetables, and plant roots as well.
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for curious little minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and read about each flower at length or flip through simply noting the colors, which works perfectly in a large group of preschoolers. If you don’t already have this gardening book for preschool, go grab it, it’s a must-have.
From Seed To Plant by Gail Gibbons is a wonderfully informative non-fiction book about plant life for preschoolers. The facts are simple, but it’s filled with exactly the main points about plant life we want preschoolers to know. There is a reason I own so many of Gail Gibbon’s books, they are exactly on target for preschool science lessons!
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss is a vintage gem. The Carrot Seed has been in print for well over 60 years and has delighted readers in a number of generations. If you aren’t familiar with the story, a little boy plants a carrot seed, and everyone tells him, “It won’t come up.” This doesn’t stop the little boy from patiently caring for this little seed that eventually grows into a giant carrot. The message is universal: sticking to your guns even when everyone tells you to give up pays off. A true classic picture book about gardening.
Lola Plants A Garden is such a good book, and someone out there stole my first copy! Actually… I think it went home in my book bag right before Covid and was never seen again! Lola is one of my family’s favorite characters, and I am always excited to share her with my students. The whole Lola series by Anna McQuinn is sweet, calm, and models the appropriate behavior of a preschooler with her friends and family. This story has examples of curiosity, patience, pretend play, storytelling… the list goes on. Lola plants a garden with her Mama and then has to wait and wait… and wait. The waiting for it pays off, which is the book’s main lesson! The length of the book is perfect for 2-5-year-olds.
Up In The Garden, Down In The Dirt by Kate Messner is one of my favorite gardening books for preschool. Children love seeing the “secret” world underground and all the bugs, plants, and life that is happening all around the garden. The book itself has proved to be too long for circle time for any group I have taught in its entirety, but it is really easy to shorten it and read chunks to your preschoolers. When we are learning about gardens, this book LIVES on my science table, because even pre-readers can dive into it’s pages and learn more about gardens.
Carrot Soup by John Segal is a cute book about planting a garden, in this case, carrots, tending it, and then reaping the rewards or maybe not. Rabbit carefully planned out his garden and took care of it. But when it was time to gather all the carrots, they were all gone! Throughout the pages, there are hints about where the carrots might be. Your class will likely figure it out before Rabbit does.
Seeds Sprout! (I Like Plants!)by Mary Dodson Wade is a great non-fiction book ideal for your collection of gardening books for preschool. It talks about different seeds, how they travel, and how they grow. The text is large and also uses simple vocabulary. However, the close-up photographs give kids a view of seeds they may not be used to seeing. Especially the image of the seed sprout at various stages. There’s also a great seed experiment at the back and a list of suggested books and websites for additional information.
Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington is useful not just for teaching about flowers and gardens but also about patience and the annual garden cycle. I have yet to read a book by this author I didn’t find useful for teaching preschool. This is definitely a great choice for a list of gardening books for preschool. Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die. She then collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year. I love that the main story is perfect for young preschoolers or groups of older children who don’t have the attention span to sit for too long. But there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden and various plant facts.
Want some gardening activities to go with these gardening books for preschool?
I love teaching preschoolers about gardening, which is funny because I hate to garden, but I guess my love of teaching is greater than my hate for pulling weeds! Here are some incredible gardening activities for preschool!