with original recommendations, descriptions and references by Kristin Addington Culpepper (Parenting Expert and Author)
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The determination of gardeners and others with creative gifts that are here to spread beauty- colorful “flowers” will sprout wherever they go- there’s no way around it! Set in the Depression era, a little girl is determined to spread sunshine, hope and flowers wherever she is sent. A beautiful story uniquely told solely through letters…one of hard times, perseverance, transformation, family, community and gardens.
Too Much Stuff!
The Listening Walk
The drive for perfection and how it can get the best of us, especially as parents. A great story of how easily we accumulate “stuff” in our quest to make things “perfect” as well….mistakenly thinking that more is always better. This might put you in the mood for a little spring cleaning as well!
A little girl and her dad go on a walk where they take in all the sounds of nature and their community. A lovely way to introduce your child to the merit of listening and how centering, grounding and healing this practice can be. This could be a great way to commence the daily tradition of a listening walk for you and your family.
Outside My Window
Inch by Inch
The New Baby Calf
Everyone who has a window that looks out to this world can relate to this book and one another. It is a gentle reminder of how small this world can feel…in a cozy, safe way. In the back, the geographic locations of each window (view) are listed. We had a lot of fun guessing where in the world we thought the house might be and then seeing how accurate we were. It opens up even more “windows” for conversation about various cultures, countries, etc. and opportunities to learn (homeschool, anyone?).
How fun are these guys? We’ve been so entertained by watching them “measure” their way from one locale to another. I love the clever ending to this book. Who knew inchworms were cunning too? ;)
A unique book that has become a favorite for many readers because of the clay illustrations. This one is fun to see how the artist created all the detail and various angles in each scene.
Because of an Acorn
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
I love how simply the cycle of life is told through an acorn- ecological connections between all living things and the profound power one acorn has on the rest of the forest and ultimately, life. This book is listed on the Sierra Club booklist for a reason. The small book size is just right for little hands too.
Such an important book as many of us don’t have land to plant gardens in, nor do we always remember the extraordinary gift (literally, in this case) nature is and can be.
Even the mice can say “to each their own." The books in this series were some of my favorites when I “read" aloud to my dolls and pets as a very little girl. The book size fits right into little hands and there is something so empowering about that! The anthropomorphism present in the entire Peter Rabbit series is done in such a lovely and remarkable way that many writes and illustrators have been inspired to follow in her footsteps. It sure is fun to imagine!
The Digging-est Dog
The Secret Fawn
SO relatable to dog owners everywhere and the rhyme just draws you right in! This was one of my favorites as a little one and my “big kids” were even drawn into the rhyme and plot.
The sweet connection of a little girl with her mama and the enchantment and satisfaction that comes from exploring nature for yourself. The illustrations are soft and absolutely precious.
This book gently opens our eyes to what weather brings wiggly worms out to play as we follow a brother and sister romping and playing throughout this rainy day.
A Seed is Sleepy
Big Sara's Little Boots
Flower Fairies of the Spring
I just LOVE this book. It has breathtaking paintings that are bright and realistic as illustrations. It is highly “educational”, but in a way that lives and breathes and doesn’t feel too “teachy”- aren’t those the BEST? There is a natural flow of information, illustrations, and clever and captivating headers to draw the reader in.
Oh my goodness- I just love this one! The illustrations are darling with a color palette that will feel very familiar to any of you that were children (or wish you were) of the late 80’s. It makes this one even more special to me. We’ll all be able to relate to Sarah as will your own little ones. The relationship with her little brother is sweet as well.
A perfect sized book for little hands- the same as the Beatrix Potter series, which was my FAVORITE size to read to my stuffed animals and dolls as a little one. The poems are rhythming, and informative, illustrations are dainty, detailed and colorful and the combination of fairies with knowledge of flowers and their “personalities” is priceless. This could be a door to exploring and finding these lovely specimens in your own yard, on your hikes and beyond with your little ones.
A Nest is Noisy
An absolutely fascinating book! There is something in here that will baffle or interest everyone in your family. The illustrations are captivating as is the information and how it is presented. It’s educational in a “sneaky” way, if you know what I mean. ;).
Song of the Swallows
Planting a Rainbow
A story of the annual Spring return (around St. Joseph’s Day) of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano (in CA). The story is told through a little boy’s eyes and is full of wonder, mystery, hope, joy, excitement, anticipation and the celebration of it all. If you’ve been to one of these missions, you can really feel yourself there. If you haven’t, you can picture it all happening around you, feel the connection with the seasons, the swallows, and the emotions that come along with the journey.
This book is grand for aspiring little gardeners that want a plot of their own. It could also be used as a “recipe” for a garden for those who feel gardening is too complicated or not their “thing”. You could use this book and the flowers in it to simplify the whole process, follow what they do when they do it, plant what they plant, and see what happens! It’s a fun experiment to do and experience to have with your child! Just make sure you check light and zone requirements in your region. ;).
If you are interested in creating the adventure of a garden with your child, this is a great one for inspiration. As a little girl, I used to LOVE to look for and watch all the little insects and other critters that hung out in our gardens. For my family, we love seeing who we can attract to the gardens and other creative spaces we create. These insects and animals can become friends AND amazing lessons as these plant, animals and insects have always proven to teach us wisdom through their ways of being and moving. You’re basically creating and attracting a living classroom (life cycles, soil, food chain…) when you plant a garden- especially with native plants!
Under the Lilacs
This is for those little ones who are experimenting with hurt feelings, big feelings, a new found sense of autonomy…..and those who just need their own space. Haven’t we all been there? Such a sweet (pun intended- lilacs….) book and relatable for all ages….yes, even you as the parent!