by Alyssa Newton, Summer 2013
Have you had the chance to visit the two raised garden beds outside of the NOPL at Cicero Library? This new community garden is under the care of the library’s Junior Gardeners – a summer reading club that meets once a week to plant and tend the two beds. They have been hard at work pulling weeds and planting an assortment of vegetables, including four types of tomatoes, beans, squash, zucchini, radishes and carrots. Their favorite plant is a mammoth “volunteer” sunflower that has made the garden it’s home this summer.
Inspired by this year’s summer reading theme “Dig into Reading,” children’s librarian Nicole Hershberger launched this club for children ages 8 to 12 at the Cicero Library Farm. In addition to learning about how to maintain a garden, children are learning about other garden related topics including habitats for beneficial insect pollinators, seed saving and science activities such as soil testing and analysis. Her favorite activity this year was the worm-composting project – “The Junior Gardeners had fun digging in the dirt and playing with live worms. It is great to see how motivated and excited they are each week to work in their garden. It is also wonderful that the parents are very involved in this project.” Nicole hopes the enthusiasm continues this summer and would love to bring the program back next year.
Interested in starting your own family gardening project at home? Check out these children’s gardening books to inspire your next project:
Kids in the Garden: Growing Plants for Food and Fun by Elizabeth McCorquodale
With over fifty projects to choose from, this fully illustrated book is a fun and accessible guide to kick start any home gardening project. Kids in the Garden encourages children to learn about gardening, healthy eating and caring for the environment. With easy to follow step-by-step instructions and fun illustrations, this book is perfect for children ages five and up.
First Garden: The White House Garden and How it Grew by Robbin Gourley
Children’s author and illustrator Robbin Gourley teaches students in Grades 1 through 5 about the White House garden and nutrition through beautiful watercolor illustrations. As part of Michelle Obama’s healthy eating campaign, this book tells the story of her garden and healthy kitchen, along with other famous gardens on the White House grounds.
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
Children will learn about vegetables and gardening in this colorful text by the popular children’s author Gail Gibbons. Colorful illustrations teach children different types of vegetables, how vegetables grow and fun trivia that support healthy eating habits and an understanding of where food comes from.