Five Beautiful Books for Teaching About Plants and Seeds

five picture books for your plants unit in kindergarten, first grade

We all know that reading aloud is important. It helps children build language and vocabulary, encourages positive feelings about books and reading, and helps young students develop print and word concepts. [Read some research on these benefits here.] Quality read alouds also make it so easy to integrate science and social studies into literacy in the primary classroom. Always on the lookout for beautiful books that help children understand the science in the world around them, I gathered five books that are perfect to use in your plants and seeds unit! (This post contains affiliate links.)

1. Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman, illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

This is a book that can be read again and again because, though the text is fairly simple, the illustrations are abundant and detailed. Plant Secrets takes the reader from seeds to plants to flowers to fruits and back to seeds again. Each section focuses on rose, oak, pea, and tomato plants, but many other examples are included in the illustrations. Children enjoy the refrain, "But all these ___ have a SECRET!" (seeds, plants, flowers, etc.) The back of this book has a section with more in-depth information about the stages of the life cycle and the four featured plants. My only wish is that the numerous illustrations were labeled, but all of the information that is included is sure to spur many connections in your learners' minds!

2. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

This gorgeous books follows the narrator, a young girl, through the seasons as she works in the garden with her Nana. The text in this story is chock full of lyrical language beginning with, "Up in the garden, I stand and plan--my hands full of seeds and my head full of dreams." It also contains quite a bit of rich vocabulary (furrow, prowl, wilt, drenched) and figurative language (wind whistles, pumpkins blush orange). The books alternates between describing the activity the narrator and her Nana are engaged in as they plant and care for their garden with the activity that is taking place out of sight as insects and other critters go about their business in the soil. The illustrations are detailed and sweet and add quite a bit to the already lovely story. The back of the book has a great section with more information about the animals mentioned in the book. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt is sure to inspire your children to plant their own gardens!

3. What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani

This cute book with rhyming text is a quick read--perfect for those few minutes before lunch or specials begin. Each page has a short, descriptive rhyming passage followed by the question, "What will grow?" Most of the page spreads include the picture of the final plant along with the riddle (which takes some of the fun out of guessing), but there are four spreads with a fold-out page that reveals the answer along with a gorgeous illustration. The back of the book includes more information about each variety of seed along with instructions on planting. What Will Grow? is a great lead-in to a seed walk out on the playground or on a field trip to a natural area.

4. A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards, illustrated by Anca Hariton

Using the simple suitcase metaphor, this book teaches about seeds in relationship to fruits in a way that students can really relate to. A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds describes the wide variety of seeds that plants produce and explains ways that they can travel and become planted in new spaces. It includes soft, but realistic, watercolor illustrations, many of which are labeled with fruit names. The back of this book holds a question and answer section with lots of the type of fun trivia that kids love to collect  (such as that some orchid seeds are so tiny that one million of them would equal the weight of a grape)!

5. The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony, illustrated by Cris Arbo

This sweet story follows a slightly anthropomorphic dandelion seed through its life cycle. By ascribing human emotions to the seed, this book offers inspiration for children with fears to overcome, while also teaching about the life cycle of a familiar plant. The illustrations are bright and colorful and are filled with details for children to notice. The Dandelion Seed is a great picture book for making connections. Children will likely think about times that they have blown the seeds off of a dandelion and they may also think about times that they have been afraid or nervous about trying something new.


Five picture books for your plants unit in kindergarten or first grade

I'd love to know some of your favorite books that you use during your plants unit! Please share them in the comments!

Another resource you might find useful this spring is my Plants Unit on TPT. This set includes a nonfiction PowerPoint slideshow full of photos and facts about plants and seeds. It covers the life cycle of plants, their parts, and their needs. The resource also includes printable materials to support informational writing, a seed journal, and many thematic worksheets and activities.

 Plants Unit on TPT

Thanks so much for reading!

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