In order to celebrate the centennial of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth, December 22, 2012, we are featuring the wonderful picture book biography, Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein.
First of all, this book is a visual feast. Joy Fisher Hein is a certified Texas Master Naturalist and her paintings are amazing. Almost every single illustration has a garden of colorful flowers, realistic enough that the reader can identify each one. Bluebonnets, coneflowers, and Indian paintbrushes jump off the page. Many of the illustrations contain children to help draw the reader in.
The story of Lady Bird Johnson’s life is surprisingly child-friendly and compelling as well. The tragedy of the loss of her mother at six and the premature loss of her husband show that Lady Bird Johnson did not have it easy. Although she championed beauty the planting flowers, she was not frivolous. Her delight in the natural world was centered by the realization that the being out in nature and seeing wildflowers can heal troubled emotions.
That is not to say that the story is a tearjerker. Appelt shows us that Lady Bird Johnson was an inspiring woman, who when she was seventy-years-old helped found what would be eventually called the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center near Austin, Texas. She wanted to make sure future generations could enjoy the beauty of nature.
Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America is sure to appeal to young gardeners as well as history buffs. Readers who live in Texas or plan to visit will also find it interesting.
Check either Kathi Appelt‘s (click on the icon next to the “brand new” image) or Joy Fisher Hein‘s websites for a fun activity kit (in .pdf) to download that accompanies the book. The kit includes a word search, card matching game and many ideas for hands-on learning.
See related more activities at Growing With Science
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (February 15, 2005)
Book was provided for review purposes.
Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.