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Guest Post: Children’s Books to Welcome Spring By Deb Chitwood on behalf of LittlePassports.com

This is a pre-written guest post and belongs solely to the author.

March is not only National Reading Month in the USA, and Little Passportswants to help you celebrate the start of spring! Spring is a wonderful time for garden adventures, both in the backyard and through the power of reading. Use this reading list to find amazing children’s books that feature gardens and plants around the world, for ages 3-5 and 6-10. Of course, the ages will often overlap and vary according to each unique child.
Garden Adventures for Ages 3-5
1. One Child, One Seed: A South African Counting Book, by Kathryn Cave (Author), Gisèle Wulfsohn (Photographer)
This is a creative counting book about a child planting a pumpkin seed in South Africa. This book tells the story of the seed while sharing the culture of a child growing up in rural South Africa.
(Recommended for ages 3-7.)
2. The Flower Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotta (Author), Leslie Evans (Illustrator)
This beautifully illustrated book can be used to combine a study of flowers around the world with letter work.
(Recommended for ages 4-8.)
3. Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library), by Bonnie Worth
This wasn’t written by Dr. Seuss, but it still has a fun adventure with the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2. That it gives scientific information about plants is a bonus.
(Recommended for ages 4-8.)
4. The Empty Pot, by Demi
This tale from China has vibrant, detailed illustrations, gardening inspiration, and a clear moral to the story.
(Recommended for ages 4 and up.)
Bonus reads: Don’t forget about preschool classics like, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (which includes the tale of Frog giving Toad seeds to grow a garden) and of course, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Garden Adventures for Ages 6-10
5. The Magical Garden of Claude Monet, by Laurence Anholt
This is the type of book that can help spark an interest in fine art. It’s a combination of fiction and biographical fact in which a girl from Paris becomes friends with a gardener (who she later learns is the garden’s owner, Claude Monet) in Giverny, a few miles from Paris. The book includes reproductions by author-illustrator Laurence Anholt, of Monet’s famous waterlilies painting, which Monet completed in his garden at Giverny.
(Recommended for ages 6-9, although many preschoolers will love the story, too.)
6. A Seed Is Sleepy, by Dianna Hutts Aston (Author) and Sylvia Long (Illustrator)
The illustrations of a wide variety of seeds in this book are gorgeous, making it a wonderful addition to a study of seeds and plants around the world.
(Recommended for ages 5-10.)
7. Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
Miss Rumphius wanted to travel the world and make the world more beautiful. The lupines along the coast of Maine are from seeds scattered by the real Miss Rumphius.
(Recommended for ages 5-8.)
8. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai, by Claire A. Nivola
This lovely book is about Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. It tells about her native Kenya and how she returned home to bring back the trees and gardens.
(Recommended for ages 5-8.)
9. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This classic book is timeless. It tells the story of a young girl on the Yorkshire moors of England. She discovers a secret garden and works to bring it back to life.
(Recommended for ages 7-12.)
Bonus reads: Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow. While not a traditional garden book, it encourages children to go outdoors and enjoy imaginative adventures in their own backyards and gardens, creating “dishes” their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents may have enjoyed creating as children. Grab a book and head outdoors with your kiddo!

Geometry Drama

I had to give an inspirational speech this morning. It was one any movie, football coach would’ve been proud of giving. It wasn’t in front of a crowd or a bunch of VIPs. No, my speech had an audience of 1- my son.

Math is the thorn in my side, the cloud on my sunny day, the rain on my parade. I hate it. No, I loathe it. Elementary school math is cake! Give me the times tables any day. I knew geometry was coming. As soon as sophomore year began, I got a tremendous case of anxiety. Full disclosure: I passed the class myself, with a ‘D’. True story.

My son has always been a good student. He’s articulate and conscientious. Math has never been his forte, but he’s been a basic ‘B’ student. That is: until this year. Yesterday, my brave little soldier gave up. He threw up his hands and said he couldn’t do it. He’d checked out. As a parent, that’s the very last thing you want to hear.

So, this morning, he started his pity party and confessed that he felt stupid. I had enough. He may be struggling but he is definitely NOT stupid. So, I had to deliver an epic speech. I thank the Holy Spirit for providing the words. I explained to him that God has a purpose for him well beyond geometry. I reminded him that his goal is to go to college and become a youth minister.

I reminded him that he mustn’t give up. Giving up is a slippery slope. Once you do, it becomes a cycle of throwing in the towel when things stink. I don’t want him to venture into those waters. I didn’t raise a quitter. So, Mommy speech complete, we went online and found some quality tutorials.

Now, we know it won’t be easy and we know it’s going to be a fight. But, we are NOT giving up. Eventually, the year will end and geometry will be behind us. Hopefully, we’re going to come out on top. I’d love to see him excel at it and become this super, geometry whiz. But, I know that even if we don’t excel or fly through that he’s going to be ok. He will go on to serve the Lord in ministry. He will not quit because the Lord & I won’t let him.