Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Carol Hand
Publisher: Lerner Publications Company
Children can get back to their roots with Carol Hand’s Growing Green: Urban Gardening. Hand weaves a history of gardening with practical application, inviting readers of all ages to introduce gardens into their lifestyles. Global gardening traditions are explained in this book, as well as predictions of future trends in the gardening space. Urban Gardening emphasizes the many benefits of gardening, a new vocabulary, and do-it-yourself methods. Community, school, home, and personal garden options are discussed at length, as well as possible strategies for combating challenges that urban dwellers might face in constructing and nurturing their gardens, including pollution, space, and vandals. This is an excellent book for home and school efforts to involve children in gardening initiatives.
For a nonfiction book targeted at a young audience, Urban Gardening is an extremely well-researched book. Professional agriculturalists were interviewed, articles and books are cited in the back of the volume, and a glossary is provided. These resources provide an excellent foundation for lesson plans in the classroom. Historical, scientific, social, economic, health, and government lessons are embedded within the pages, and provide opportunities for hands-on learning activities. If the book is to be distributed to students, the learning level may be from fifth to eighth grade. However, the ideas and topics are tailored to the understanding of children as young as third grade, and can be stimulating to students in high school as well. The book discusses environmental subjects with balanced opinions. Unfortunately, the book's structure is not an interactive resource; the table of contents is organized by abstract ideas instead of concrete subjects. This can be beneficial for private reading, but less attractive to a group that would like to begin a garden. However, the resources in the back compensate for these weaknesses.