Spring is a great time of transformation, change, and the occasional spring cleaning.
In honor of our appreciation for this spring-which has finally arrived-here is a little tribute to some of our classic spring books that every child should read, especially during spring:
- Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
This story is based in the Middle Ages when people believed that insects were evil and grown from mud and filth. Margarita Engle believes differently as she discovers the beauty of insects and their births in spring.
- Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
This is an adorable, quirky little tale about a girl and her pet squash. Though it is considered a fall book, it still shows the magic of all seasons. Everyday she takes it to school and cares for it. She cares for it all through the seasons, until one day near winter it begins to rot. Upset about losing her pet, her parents help her plant it in the ground until the next spring when it produces all little baby squash for Sophie to play with, as well as her new kitty who joins in the fun. The book is a recipeient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor and the Charlotte Zolotow Honor.
- The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
A book focusing on many famous Chinese plants, author/illustrator Grace Lin recalls a story from her past about when she was growing up and growing a garden with her mother. At first self conscious of her plants, that she believes to be so much uglier than the flowers in neighbors gardens, she soon finds out the beauty and usefulness of her plants come Harvest time. This book provides the joys of gardening and cooking.
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This one is a really inspiring book based on a magical garden where two cousins spend their secluded life. A little more of a serious book than others, this book has a great story line, including the curing of one of the sick cousin’s illnesses. The garden with all of its beauty, becomes a place of safe refuge for the two.
- City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Little Marcy hates the vacant, littered lot in the middle of her city block. This story really shows the beauty of spring in any setting as Marcy comes up with a great idea to change the lot into a beautiful plant paradise.
- The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
Taking place during the Depression era, this story shows its main characters heroism in attempting to change the dull setting of her newly found home with her uncle into a place where everyone can’t help but smile-even her uncle Jim. As she works on brightening up the store with flowers and smiles, her biggest accomplishment comes with the creation of her beautiful rooftop garden for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. The magic of the book stems from its writing which is in the format of little Lydia writing letters home. Not to mention, this book is a 1997 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book.
- Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler
A story about the first African American woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, this book shows her journey from loving the environment as a child, to her adulthood accomplishments of working to saving it. The book also has a really empowering storyline of women’s rights that great for any child to read and learn about.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
We could not have this list without this final book included. A classic that every kid needs to read for spring, this book shows the path of the caterpillar from its first spring birth, to its next spring metamorphosis into a butterfly. The book is a fun read as children can read along and interact with the books fun colors, and it is a great educational book for schools as well as the home. Its definitely a classic book from a classic author.