The Little Gardener: Helping Children Connect with the Natural World by Julie Cerny, Ysemay Dercon

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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.

"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

"[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.'"  -

"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

"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." -Ni4Kids (UK)

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.

0.8" H x 8.1" L x 5.7" W

224 pages