The Little Gardener: Helping Children Connect with the Natural World (Hardcover)
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The Little Gardener is an engaging illustrated guide for parents, grandparents, caregivers, and educators who want to help children explore the natural world through gardening. Part how–to, part teaching tool, and part inspiration, The Little Gardener is a thoughtful combination of detailed instructions, tips, anecdotes, and seasonal activities designed to connect gardeners to natural systems. With fun projects, useful charts, and creative journal prompts, The Little Gardener shows gardeners of all ages how to envision and build their garden together by making the process an adventure to be treasured, with much to learn along the way.
About the Author
Julie A. Cerny is an educator, gardener, and aspiring homesteader living in New York's Hudson Valley. A longtime lover of food, flowers, trees, and the earth that grows them, she strives to live as an active member of the ecological systems that sustain her.
Ysemay Dercon is an artist and illustrator with an interest in science and wildlife conservation. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
"So, you've gotten your child stoked about eating produce and growing it, too. Congratulations! The only problem now is that you've never gardened in your life, and have no idea how to ensure a successful-and inspiring-experience for your tyke. This cheerful little reference tome helps you get started with heaps of practical how-tos about making the most of whatever space you've got, as well as tips about how long it takes to for those seeds to turn into something edible. It might just be the beginning of a tasty new calling."
- Sierra Magazine
"An engaging illustrated guide for parents, grandparents and caregivers who want to help children explore the natural world through gardening. Part howto, part teaching tool, and part inspiration, The Little Gardener is a thoughtful combination of detailed instructions, tips, anecdotes, and seasonal activities designed to connect gardeners to natural systems. With fun projects, useful charts, and creative journal prompts, The Little Gardener shows gardeners of all ages how to envision and build their garden together by making the process an adventure to be treasured, with much to learn along the way."
- The Green Parent (UK)
"Taking extra time to create features just for Little Gardeners will offer more opportunities for them to connect with your garden. Harness the affection children have for building and playing in forts by including them in the construction of special garden structures."
"[Julie Cerny] clearly lays out how to design, plant and tend a garden with a child. She offers activities and examples that are infinitely helpful in guiding the young gardener-because it's one thing to know how to garden, but a different thing entirely to try to explain the processes to a child."
"A handsome illustrated portable tome addressed to parents as much as to kids. It offers insights and ideas on topics such as designing and caretaking a garden in language that neither talks up to parents nor down to children. In other words, it's the perfect companion for an adult who has absolutely no idea what he's doing in the garden."
"A perspective on child education underlies this informative handbook: too often 'unstructured and self-directed play and exploration are marginalized' in formal school settings, the author observes. 'When children are immersed in real life, they learn about real life [and] form meaningful connections to the things of this world.'"
- Texas Gardener
"This conceptual guide to creating 'cultivated ecosystems' has broad appeal for homesteaders, homeschoolers, outdoor educators, and all child caregivers who endeavor to instill a positive sense of the natural world, its ability to sustain us, and our responsibility for its care, in the children they love."
- The Gardener's Path
"As much as anything, The Little Gardener is a personal plea for reconnecting with nature for all that it can teach us. It is perfect for all of our back to school needs in science, math, ecology, nutrition and the ever important what it means to be intentionally human."
- The Cultivating Place
The Little Gardener by Julie A. Cerny isn't aimed primarily at children but at the adults who look after them and want to involve them in the joys of gardening. Parents, teachers and others are certain to find inspiration from the varied ideas and projects.
- The Morning Star (UK)
"Gardener and debut author Cerny advocates for "ecological literacy" in this appealing guide for adults trying to interest children in gardening....Her curriculum for remedying this defect covers designing, planting, and maintaining a garden, concentrating on ways to "garden like nature" (such as "companion planting, which simply means planting two or more species of plants close together to benefit at least one of them") and feel more connected to the land....In addition to horticultural info, Cerny also dispenses some pointers on working with children with different learning styles. This informative and helpful primer will help grown-up gardeners inculcate a lifelong love of the natural world in young minds."
- Publishers Weekly
"[The Little Gardener] extends a beautiful invitation to go outside and grow something together. It's written with both Big Gardeners and Little Gardeners in mind, sharing just the right amount of details to equip both for success without overwhelming those who are new to gardening....The Little Gardener is a how-to guide that invites families to enjoy and care for the natural world."
- Foreword Reviews
"The Little Gardener is offered up by an author deeply at home in nature, the book acting as her outstretched hand beckoning caregivers and their little ones to join her with joy and abandon....[It] is the perfect companion for parents, educators and caregivers who wish to immerse the children in their lives in nature and vine-ripened produce but find themselves daunted by the journey from tiny seed to big, juicy tomato."
- The Maine Organic Farmer Gardener,
"A 'big gardener, little gardener" guide to an adventure that will be long remembered and with much to learn along the way to creating a garden and connecting with nature."
- Ozaukee Press,
"[Author Julie] Cerny spent 15 years as an outdoor educator, leading little ones to study ponds, hike mountains and play games that helped introduce the way natural systems work. Her background comes through on each of the 224 pages of this thoughtful book, which is very much needed in today's digital and fast-paced world....Cerny's insights into the importance of connecting with the outside world truly touched my heart. 'Gardening cultivates ecological literacy - a working knowledge of how ecological systems support all life on this planet. When we garden, it's easier to see ourselves as part of those systems and to experience firsthand how our choices affect our environment, for better or for worse.'"
"Why should students pursue gardening? It cultivates ecological literacy, which is vital for children understanding how ecological systems support all life on Earth and how our personal choices affect the environment. Cerny captures the child's imagination by asking them to envision their dream garden, then turns their visions into reality by setting goals for its creation....A comprehensive, fun, and colorful hands-on guide to gardening that will be enjoyable for children of all ages. -
"This wonderful book is perfect for parents and their children to learn how to create a thriving garden. It includes everything you need to know such as finding the right spot, what time to plant and when it will be harvested, what tools you need and information on how to water and tend the garden."
- Albany (N.Y.) Times Union
"The beautifully illustrated and engaging volume is directed at parents and educators as much as kids. It's also an excellent resource for adults such as myself whose children are fully grown but have no better than a third grade education in gardening themselves and need things spelled out for them."
- Berkshire Eagle
"Each chapter is full of activities and ends with journal prompts, a chapter review and a preview of the next chapter....There is so much information about plants and growing them in this book as well. Talk about teaching some science at home."
- Crafty Moms Share
"The book travels from the earliest stages of visualizing a garden-to-be all the way through to harvesting home-grown food, with fun and fruitful lessons that teach garden-related subjects like art, math, writing, carpentry, and biology."
- Washington Gardener
"Part how-to, part teaching tool, and part inspiration, The Little Gardener is a thoughtful combination of detailed instructions, tips, anecdotes, and seasonal activities designed to connect gardeners to natural systems. With fun projects, useful charts, and creative journal prompts, The Little Gardener shows...the process an adventure to be treasured, with much to learn along the way."
- The Green Parent (UK)
"Part guide and part teaching tool, this book is the perfect choice for any adult hoping to inspire the next generation of gardeners....I can this being passed down the generations with hand-written notes in the margins and mud-stains on the pages. "
- Library Girl and Book Boy (UK)