Most kids will happily tell you what their favorite animal is and then imitate its noises for you. If you have kids in your life who don’t know what their favorite plant is, it’s time to help them find one! These books can help. This list of plant books for kids includes nonfiction books meant to teach the science of plant life. There are also plenty of stories that help kids understand the relationships between people and plants. After all, we eat plants, wear plants, and live in houses partially made of plants. Dare I say animals are overrated, or at the least, overplayed? Never mind a puppy; give kids a plant to take care of and a book that will empower them both to thrive!
This book for eager little hands illustrates that having a garden can be a very simple activity with a low barrier to entry. It’s a fun book that includes both practical information on common plants for a beginner gardener as well as gardening-inspired craft projects.
Just Like Us! Plants by Bridget Heos and David Clark
Sometimes a funny book is good for reluctant nonfiction readers. This one teaches about the shared traits of people and plants. Learn how plants behave in ways we might not expect, like communicating with one another or disguising themselves.
Perfectly Peculiar Plants by Chris Thorogood and Catell Ronca
Kids who love weird facts will adore this book full of fascinating and unexpected stories about plants from around the world. In addition to the compelling information about poisonous and carnivorous plants and other wacky species, the book provides good foundational information about how plants live and grow.
Horse & Buggy Plant a Seed! by Ethan Long
For people looking for leveled readers exploring how plants are nurtured, this entry in the Horse and Buggy series will fit the bill. It’s got adorable illustrations that aid in teaching the vocabulary words that may be new to developing readers.
Let’s Get Gardening by DK Publishing
No list of plant books for kids would be complete without some practical gardening books. This book provides step-by-step instructions at just the right level for a budding gardener. The photos make the process very clear, and some of the projects add focus on attracting beneficial wildlife, like bees and butterflies, to one’s garden.
Sadiq and the Green Thumbs by Siman Nuurali and Anjan Sarkar
This beginning chapter book about a Somali boy named Sadiq shows the value of helping others in need. Sadiq cares for his teacher’s garden and inspires his friends to help with kind deed. Sadiq’s gentle spirit will appeal to quiet kids who also want to learn about how fun it can be to garden.
A Walk on the Shoreline by Rebecca Hainnu and Qin Leng
Encouraging children to notice the animals and plants that are all around them is the goal of this book. It follows Nukappia camping along a shoreline in northern Canada and learning about the native plants like seaweed and shore grasses that are found there.
Yum! MmMm! Que Rico!: America’s Sproutings by Pat Mora and Rafael Lopez
Each of the haikus in this fun book paints a picture of a crop plant native to the Americas. It’s a perfect book to learn about plants, food, and poetry. With vibrant and exciting illustrations and poems in both Spanish and English, it’s sure to delight lots of readers.
Seeds Move! by Robin Page
A surefire way to attract the interest of certain young readers is with a dose of potty humor. Enter the dung beetle, helping seeds disperse and find their ideal spot to grow. The various ways seeds find fertile ground is explored in this interesting and beautifully illustrated book.
A Day with Yayah by Nicola I. Campbell and Julie Flett
This simple and beautiful tale helps children understand that they can learn about plants from the elders in their family. This book follows a First Nations family in British Columbia foraging for native herbs and mushrooms.
Flower Talk by Sara Levine and Masha D’yans
Have you ever just wondered, Why are flowers? This book aims to answer that question, providing interesting facts about the way different pollinators see flowers from their unique perspectives that is sure to be informative to kids and adults alike.
Three Lost Seeds: Stories of Becoming by Stephie Morton and Nicole Wong
While this book does relate information about what conditions are required for seeds to germinate, it also treats the seeds as a metaphor for the experiences and resilience of displaced children. It’s the perfect choice for a thought-provoking read among these plant books for kids.
Is It Tu B’Shevat Yet? by Chris Barash and Alessandra Psacharopulo
For anyone looking to celebrate or learn more about Jewish holidays, this charming book shows characters planting trees and feasting on fruit to celebrate Tu B’Shevat. It’s the perfect book to read as winter is beginning to turn toward spring, when burgeoning plant life is a source of hope for us all.
Pretty Tricky: The Sneaky Ways Plants Survive by Etta Kaner and Ashley Barron
While plants seems quite docile and immobile, they in fact have lots of tricks up their sleeves. This book introduces interesting adaptations plants have that aid in their survival and reproduction. The cut-paper collage illustrations make the book visually pop.
Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery and Jessie Hartland
Kids interested in learning about urban gardening will enjoy this true story about one man who turned an empty lot in Harlem into a thriving garden, with help from the local school kids. It’s a great reminder about everyone’s ability to make a difference, and that gardening is for everyone.
Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo and Beth Lo
The omnipresent soybean fields one sees driving around the midwest take on new significance after reading this charming book that celebrates the way the soybean figures into Chinese cuisine. It also celebrates the bonds among intergenerational immigrant families.
The Sequoia Lives On by Joanna Cooke and Fiona Hsieh
There’s no better way to learn about the majestic sequoia than a picture book written by a park ranger. People of all ages can have their minds absolutely blown by understanding the life cycle of the world’s largest trees. It’s great book for instilling a conservation mindset in young readers.
The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng by Sophia Gholz and Kayla Harren
This book, about a boy who created a 1,300 acre forest on land that was suffering from deforestation and erosion, is a reminder that kids can make a difference. It also helps children understand the relationship between native plants and the rest of the ecosystem.
This plant book for kids focuses on chlorophyll and its role in the changing colors deciduous leaves exhibit in the fall. Both the colors themselves and the science behind the color are celebrated. The artwork brings those cozy autumnal feelings.
An’s Seed by Zaozao Wang and Li Huang, Translated by Helen Wang
This bilingual book, written in Chinese and English, relates a fable-like story of a simple experiment that demonstrates how lotus seeds germinate. It’s a good book for inspiring children to follow their natural curiosity about why nature works the way it does.
I hope this list has convinced you to balance all those animal books with some plant books for kids! If gardening is a whole family activity, we’ve got more gardening recommendations. And if you’re looking for more books for kids, check out the best of 2020.