Inga Howe-Geniesse

Lil’ Sprouts Gift Guide: Great New Books For Kids

For the month of December Garden Collage is rolling out a special feature for our GC readers: an interactive holiday calendar that celebrates the garden in the season of comfort and joy. Our GC Holiday Calendar features exclusive giveaways, gift guides, holiday beauty tips, video tutorials, recipes, and other fresh ideas designed to bring the garden into peoples’ lives.


Looking for a book gift for the Lil’ Sprout in your life? We’ve got you covered! In lieu of our monthly bookclub, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations below from our most trusted experts: the New York Botanical Garden, the New York Public Library, the Edible Schoolyard NYC, the art director for Little Pickle Press, and a parent. With everything from poetry to outdoor activities, there’s something for every Lil’ Sprout this holiday season.

New York Botanical Garden

National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis

Age range: 4 and up

bookofpoetryNational Geographic Children's Books

J. Patrick Lewis has complied a variety of classic and modern poetry, pairing them with National Geographic’s famously breathtaking photographs to engage Lil’ Sprouts visually and lexically. With over 200 poems, the book is sure to last Lil’ Sprouts many years–especially as they grow and discover new meanings in the words.

New York Public Library

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Age range: 4 – 8 years

ifyouplantaseedBalzer + Bray

Using the metaphor of seeds and growth to explain the far-reaching goodness of small acts, Kadir Nelson’s tale encourages generosity and kindness, without feeling heavy handed. Large, bright illustrations engage Lil’ Sprouts and are balanced by simple, carefully chosen words. A perfect compliment to the themes and messages of the holiday season.

Edible Schoolyard Project

A Seed Is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

Age range: 5 – 8 years

GCChronicle Books

Aston and Long’s narrative traces the life of seeds, balancing realism with poetry. Illustrations are both beautiful and instructive, useful for identifying samples Lil’ Sprouts may come across while outdoors. The Edible Schoolyard in New York uses the book to teach adaptation to their students–with its detailed drawings, Lil’ Sprouts will enjoy reading this book again and again.


Leslie Iorillo, Art Director for Little Pickle Press

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

Age range: 4 – 7 years

sidewalkflowersGroundwood Books

JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith’s wordless story is carried by graphic illustrations and selective coloring. The lack of text encourages Lil’ Sprouts to participate in the storytelling process. For urban Lil’ Sprouts in particular, Sidewalk Flowers encourages the appreciation of nature in unexpected places.

Whitney, Parent

Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen

With activities for every day of the year, Rebecca P. Cohen has provided an invaluable resource for parents and guardians who are looking for inspiration to get Lil’ Sprouts–and themselves–outdoors. Easy and straightforward, 15 Minutes Outside is an interactive gift with plenty of longevity.

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