Our School Garden!
Our School Garden!
by Rick Swann, illustrated by Christy Hale
Age Range: 8-12 years
New city. New school. Michael is feeling all alone—until he discovers the school garden! There’s so many ways to learn, and so much work to do. Taste a leaf? Mmm, nice and tangy hot. Dig for bugs? “Roly-poly!” he yells. But the garden is much more than activities outdoors: making school garden stone soup, writing Found Poems and solving garden riddles, getting involved in community projects such as Harvest Day, food bank donations, and spring plant sales. Each season creates a new way to learn, explore, discover and make friends.
Rick Swann is a school librarian in Seattle, Washington, where he lives. He has been a gardener since he was four, picking asparagus and blueberries near his childhood home in New England. Now he harvests vegetables with his students from their school garden for the local food bank. This is his first book. Learn more about Rick at www.rickswann.com.
Christy Hale has illustrated many award winning picture books, including Elizabeti’s Doll, and its two sequels, Mama Elizabeti and Elizabeti’s School. She is also the author/illustrator of The East-West House: Noguchi’s Childhood in Japan, named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Learn more about Christy at www.christyhale.com.
Winner, 2013 Growing Good Kids Book Award, Junior Master Gardener Program and the American Horticultural Society.
“From educational opportunities to building community and friendships, this picture book introduces the rewards of school gardens…Hale’s charming, richly-hued, textured illustrations depict multicultural characters and a variety of garden-related activities… Swann’s enthusiasm and advocacy will pique kids’ interest and engage them…in this informative, enjoyable approach to the subject.”
“Our School Garden! draws upon the best parts of what a school garden can be–a place to spark curiosity, explore, work hard, laugh, make friends and deepen academic learning. This book would complement any library for students who are learning where food comes from.”
—Kyle Cornforth, Director, Edible Schoolyard Berkeley
“Seeing a children’s book about school gardens is a heartening symbol of our current society. It signifies the exciting fact that parents and kids are recognizing the school garden as a common entity. Our School Garden! by Rick Swann works to spread that shared experience through his unique layout that mixes verse, lessons and history. We enter the story through the character of Michael, who is starting his first day at a new school in a new city. From his perspective, we get introduced to their thriving school garden, his new friends, and the learning that goes on throughout the year….The beautiful illustrative work of Christy Hale lends a perfect visual component to this book, capturing the vibrant colors and dreamy scenes that make up a year in a garden.”
“An explosion of color and highly detailed illustrations done in mixed media, combining collaged papers, stencils, printing and paint, greets readers of this account of a school garden seen through the eyes of a new student….The author, a Seattle School librarian, clearly understands how to maintain student’s attention….This well designed and informative book would make an especially good choice for schools that are planning or already have a vegetable garden.”
— Puget Sound Council for Children’s Literature and Media
“A great addition to school gardening collections and evidence that we all should strive to be effective users and producers of ideas and information!”
—Craig Seasholes, President, Washington Library Media Association
“Our School Garden! illustrates how gardening builds community, and ties in and enriches all academic subjects. It made me eager to get back into the garden with kids!”
—Karen Ray, School Gardens Program Manager, Thurston County (WA) Food Bank
“A charming story of culture, food and friendship and an inspiring call to action. Every school should have a garden like this one!”
—Jill Ligtener, Edible Seattle magazine