3 Books for Science in the Garden

It’s been Children’s Garden Week over at Growing with Science, so I thought I’d round up some nonfiction STEM books that could be used in the garden.


Flowers (Plant Parts) by Melanie Waldron is the perfect introduction to flowers in the garden. This informational book covers what a flower is, the parts of a flower, how flowers make seeds, and become fruit, etc. It also discusses how flowers attract insect pollinators.


The layout of this book is delightful. It is filled with bright, colorful photographs and neatly-labelled illustrations. Interesting sidebars highlight facts. It is very clean and crisp-looking.

Two hands-on activities are included with clear and well-organized instructions to help reinforce learning.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Lexile Measure: 780L (What’s this?)
Series: Plant Parts
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives (January 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1410954269
ISBN-13: 978-1410954268

Seeds and Fruits (Raintree Perspectives: Plant Parts) is also by Melanie Waldron and is part of the same series as Flowers. It covers variation in seeds and fruits, what seeds and fruit are for, the parts of a flowering plant, how seeds are made, what’s inside a seed, what seeds need to germinate, different types of fruit, methods plants use to disperse seeds, and how humans interact with seeds and fruits.


Understandably, there is some overlap with the previous book. This book contains an activity of finding seeds in fruit and an experiment to investigate germination of bean seeds under different conditions.

These books in the Plant Parts series would work well with a school garden as well as in the classroom for a unit on plants.

Age Range: 7 – 9 years
Series: Raintree Perspectives: Plant Parts
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Raintree Perspectives(June 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1406274801
ISBN-13: 978-1406274806

What is a garden without soil and what is soil without compost to make it healthy? What’s Sprouting in My Trash?: A Book about Composting (A+ Books: Earth Matters) by Esther Porter is a visually-interesting quick overview of composting for children.


What's Sprouting in My Trash

The huge color photographs cover each two-page spread. Other than an earthworm or two, there isn’t anything that might dissuade a reader, or make him or her uncomfortable. In fact, the compost looks colorful and attractive with relatively fresh flowers and fruit in each view.

The back of the book has an activity about composting in a jar. Did you know you could make compost in a jar? I didn’t, so after a bit of searching I found a way to make the activity into an experiment by adding different materials to jars, as explained in this video:

As I understand it, the purpose of the experiment in the video is to see how long it takes for each type of additive to break down. If you decide to do this experiment, be sure to use garden soil rather than potting soil. Potting soil is likely to lack some of the microorganisms needed to speed up decomposition. Let us know what happens if you try it.

What’s Sprouting in My Trash?: A Book about Composting is a fun read-aloud and would likely inspire further investigations into composting.

Series: A+ Books: Earth Matters
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Capstone Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620657457
ISBN-13: 978-1620657454

Disclosures: These book were provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

Gardening With Children

With the increasing popularity of gardening, let’s look at a classic book:  Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy. roots-shoots

This book has been a family favorite. Lovejoy’s creativity and obvious joy in her subject make it a unique treasure among gardening books. So much more than a simple how-to plant a garden, children learn to experience the garden with all their senses. Their interest is engaged in complex and multi-layered ways. Hollyhocks aren’t just tall plants with pretty flowers; they are forts or hideouts, dolls and even snacks.

Not only is this book filled with accurate and fun information about gardening, but also the creatures you find there. For example, under “Harvest Treats for the Birds & Bees” on page 36, Sharon Lovejoy gives instructions for a simple “Stalk Hotel” as a place for pollinating insects to nest. This is a wonderful way to re-purpose a part of the garden that might otherwise be tossed away (more on small carpenter bees.) As an entomologist who has led bug walks for kids, I love her “Explorer’s Kit” on page 137.

I could go on and on at all the wonderful things in this book. If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend you take a look at it. There’s something in it for everyone to love.

Related Activities:

Kitchen scrap gardening – look in the left column for links to activities.

Theme gardens

Theme garden books

Germination test to do with children

More germination experiments

Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (May 1, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0761110569
ISBN-13: 978-0761110569

(Affiliate link to Amazon)


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. For more information, stop by Picture Book of the Day which is hosting today’s carnival.