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Kid Tested, Librarian Recommended: Magical Gardens


The weather is warming up, which means flowers and plant life have started to wake up from winter. Check out some fantastic books that focus on kids in the garden.

The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman

the girl and the witch's gardenPiper is sent to live with her estranged mother and grandmother who live on a sprawling estate. She soon discovers the estate holds mysterious secrets and a slew of foster children. Piper learns there might be a magical garden on the grounds that holds the elixir for life, which might save her father who has cancer. She starts searching for it endlessly. If it exists and she can find it, what will be the cost?

"As enchanting as it is wise, the true magic of this secret garden story is in its unflinching, heart-wrenching exploration of grief, belonging, and inner strength. Once I stepped into the witch's garden with Piper, I did not want to leave." -- Jessica Khoury, author of The Mystwick School of Musicraft


A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar

A Seed in the SunIn 1965 Lula and her family leave Mexico to harvest grapes as migrant workers in California. But the family soon realizes they’ve crossed a picket line for their work and that comes with consequences. While Lula and her sister are at school and her parents and older sibling work the fields, those consequences come to fruition. Soon her mother is sick with a mysterious illness and her father becomes more and more volatile. In school Lula learns about the farm workers’ strike, labor activism and workers rights.

“There is a special power in historical fiction’s ability to blend real issues and events with engaging characters, turning the past into a living, breathing thing. Salazar accomplishes this beautifully in her new novel in verse . . . Led by a memorable protagonist, this novel mixes themes of growth and change with historical details and powerful observations on the abuses that sparked the Farmworkers’ Movement and the strength of those demanding justice.”—Booklist, starred review


My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald

My life in pink and greenLucy’s mother and grandmother have run the Old Mill Pharmacy for years but the business and struggling. Lucy is determined to find a solution. After joining her school Earth Day Club, she comes up with a plan to add an Eco-Spa to the Pharmacy to drum up business. The book is filled with entrepreneurial spirit and an eye on eco-friendly solutions.

Lisa Greenwald’s My Life in Pink & Green is the first book in a series that “successfully delivers an authentic and endearing portrait of the not-quite-teen experience” –Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The secret gardenThis is the classic story of Mary Lennox, a recently orphaned girl sent to live with her uncle after losing her parents to illness. Mary learns her uncle's estate has a secret garden. Soon she’s making friends and secretly mending the garden while also mending her own broken heart and spirit.

One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children's literature, The Secret Garden has remained a firm favorite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance.


Nina Soni, Master of the Garden by Kashmira Sheth

Nina Soni Master of the GardenAfter spending Take Your Child To Work Day with her mother, a landscape architect, Nina decides to start her own backyard vegetable garden. The garden project takes several months and over that time Nina learns to apply the lessons gardening teachers her to other areas of her life.

"As in previous books in this series, Nina's sincere and circumspect narratorial voice—and her beautifully illustrated lists and asides—renders this story a delight to read. Sheth expertly weaves in details about Nina's Indian heritage together with her pride in being a Wisconsinite. . . . Plants aren't the only things that grow in this book about perseverance, friendship, and personal growth."—Kirkus Reviews


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