~ MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY S.T.E.A.M. FEATURE ~
-- 'GARDENING WITH EMMA: GROW
AND HAVE FUN -- A KID-TO-KID GUIDE' --
AUTHORS EMMA BIGGS & STEVEN BIGGS
~Post Includes: Book Spotlight,
Author Bios & Review~
ABOUT THE BOOK (FROM GOODREADS):
Product Awards Winner!
Thirteen-year-old Emma Biggs is passionate about gardening and eager to share her passion with other kids!
Gardening with Emma is a kid-to-kid guide to growing healthy food and raising the coolest, most awesome plants while making sure there’s plenty of fun. With plants that tickle and make noise, tips for how to grow a flower stand garden, and suggestions for veggies from tiny to colossal, Emma offers a range of original, practical, and entertaining advice and inspiration. She provides lots of useful know-how about soil, sowing, and caring for a garden throughout the seasons, along with ways to make play spaces among the plants. Lively photography and Emma’s own writing (with some help from her gardening dad, Steve) capture the authentic creativity of a kid who loves to be outdoors, digging in the dirt.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS (FROM STEVEN'S BLOG):
'Who We Are'
Steven’s passion for gardening is rooted in over 40 years of growing, a decade as a horticultural educator, and a dozen years writing articles and books on how to grow fun, delicious, and exotic specialty crops. He is a horticulturist, college instructor, broadcaster, speaker, and author. He was recognized by Garden Making magazine as one of the “green gang” of Canadians making a difference in horticulture.
Steven’s passion is incorporating edible crops into the landscape to create beautiful, edible landscapes with a long and varied harvest. His own yard includes a driveway straw-bale garden, rooftop kitchen garden, wicking beds, an edible-themed front yard, and fruit plantings.
Emma is a Gen Z gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2019—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbour’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, and on the garage roof. Her garden is the source of many of her stories—and the source of produce that she sells in her neighborhood.
Emma, who is (now) 15 years old, gives talks at libraries, seed exchanges, garden clubs, and garden shows. She is the co-host of The Food Garden Life Show. Emma’s Gen XYZ Blog for Harrowsmith magazine is about growing tomatoes and other food crops.
In 2020 Emma received the GardenComm Emergent Communicator Award, which recognizes a member under the age of 40 who demonstrates exceptionally high degrees of skill and professional ethics.
Because this book was written by then twelve-year-old Emma Biggs with help from her father, the book takes on an appealing, kid-centered perspective that one doesn't usually see in books written by adults.
In the 'Why I Wrote This Book' introduction, Emma shares that she has always wanted to write a book about her favorite pastime, gardening. When she was younger, she made books by stapling her gardening drawings into little books. She helped her father, Stephen Biggs, when he had a table at gardening events or gave talks about gardening. Now he has helped her write this fabulous book for middle-graders and tweens!
First of all, perhaps my favorite element of this book is the fantastic, colorful, entertaining photography included throughout the book. Most of the photos are of Emma's garden, she and her brothers, and their outdoor antics in their yards.
There are four chapters in the book: 'Garden ABC's', 'Great Gardens for Kids', 'A Bit of Practical Advice', and 'Fall and Winter Garden Fun'. In Chapter 1 Emma covers the definitions of annuals, perennials, weeds, volunteers, eating weeds (kids will love this section), soil, sun, light, water, garden supplies, insects in the garden, and much more.
In 'Great Gardens for Kids' the author shares why she likes growing vegetables, an A to Z garden of edible flowers and vegetables, and rainbow veggies. She includes tips on growing a flower stand, a tickling garden, and tomatoes. Readers will quickly learn that Emma loves tomatoes! One of my favorite ideas in this chapter is the 'Grow a Pizza' themed garden which includes tomatoes, chives, basil, and oregano. She also talks about birds and how to attract them to your garden.
The 'A Bit of Practical Advice' chapter is a heart-to-heart from one young person to another—how to make a new garden using pots, digging out a new space from a lawn, or making a raised bed, how to start seeds indoors versus sowing seeds outside, and caring for your own garden.
The final chapter, 'Fall and Winter Garden Fun', is about leaf composting, loosening up the soil, planting for next year, and a delightful section about bird-watching, birdhouses, and hand feeding. She finishes the book with some tips about growing flowers from bulbs inside the house and planning for next year's garden.
Highly-recommended for gardeners of all ages, families, teachers, librarians, scout/youth groups, camp counselors, and anyone who is interested in gardening and spending time in nature.
I borrowed this book from our local public library system.
the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from
middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.