Although the world has shut down, spring has been blooming right along schedule, and we are filling our heads with stories about gardens, seeds, and ducklings. To welcome each new season, I purchase one book to add to our collection and find the rest from our library, which makes it a much more economical way to enjoy seasonal books.
Since our local libraries are closed until June, I had to find creative ways to read spring books. We already owned half the books on this list and I was able to find the rest on YouTube. Type the name of the book into the search bar and add “read aloud.” I was surprised by how lovely the renditions are!
1. We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines
As one of my favorite picture books, this is a delight to read. It will charm children and adults with the story of the Gaineses’ first attempts at planting a garden. I love that it reinforces the benefits of hard work and persistence.
2. How Do Flowers Grow? Usborne Lift-the-flap First Questions and Answers
A lift-the-flap book, this explores questions like “Why do plants have flowers?” and “Where do seeds come from?” Children lift the flaps to discover the hidden answers.
3. Where Do They Go When It Rains? by Gerda Muller
Ah, Gerda Muller! Her books are so lovely. This wonderful story explores the question “What do animals and insects do when it rains?” and invokes wonder about the world around us.
4. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The classic Beatrix Potter books deserve a place on every bookshelf, but especially so in the spring. I fell in love with the world of Beatrix Potter as a child and still treasure her books today. The BBC created an equally delightful illustrated show called The World of Peter Rabbit & Friends. I watched it at my grandma’s house as a child and recently rediscovered it on YouTube. It’s been a joy to share with my family.
5. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston
Filled with stunningly beautiful illustrations, this book takes a look at seeds, explaining what they are and how they grow and travel. It serves as a great introduction to photosynthesis and different types of plants and trees. There are a few other books by this author and illustrator duo, including A Nest is Noisy, An Egg is Quiet, and A Butterfly is Patient.
6. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner
If you were here for my list of winter book recommendations, you’ll remember Over and Under the Snow, which was one of my favorite winter stories. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, an educational gardening book for kids, carries the same charm as Kate Messner’s winter book. Children will discover the hidden world under the dirt and experience the joys of getting their hands dirty in a garden.
7. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Eric Carle books are always a delight. This story serves as a playful introduction to seasonality and the life of a seed.
8. The Secret Garden retold by Mandy Archer
BabyLit Storybooks do a beautiful job of abridging classic literature into picture books and serve as an excellent introduction to classic literature and famous figures, like Mr. Darcy and the March family. The Secret Garden is no exception.
My three-year-old loves lift-the-flap books, and this is one of her favorites. Children must lift the flaps to discover what happens in the story of an acorn growing into a tree.
10. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
This classic story deserves a place on every family’s bookshelf. It was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1941 for the most distinguished American picture book.
11. Why Do We Need Bees? Usborne Lift-the-flap First Questions and Answers
Another lift-the-flap story, this answers many questions about bees, including “Where do bees live?” and “Who’s who in a hive?”
12. Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
This is a sweet story about a girl named Lola who dreams of planting a garden. Inspired by the poem “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary,” Lola checks out books about flowers from the library and begins planting a garden. While waiting for her garden to grow, she pays homage to her favorite poem by making decorations for her garden.
13. Spring by Gerda Muller
Filled with European-inspired illustrations, this is a book about spring without any words. If you are reading with a young child, encourage them to point out what they see on the page, as identifying objects is a great way to spark language development. Ask older children to tell you what is happening on each page and then talk through the illustrations.
14. Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow
I love Elsa Beskow’s books. Her whimsical illustrations tell a beautiful story about a Swedish boy named Pelle. When he outgrows his coat, he shears his lamb’s wool and barters with his grandmothers and neighbors to card, spin, and dye the wool in exchange for doing odd jobs for them.
15. Saving the Countryside: The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Marshall
This new biography is a beautiful depiction of Peter Rabbit’s creator. It highlights Beatrix Potter’s work to protect the English Lake District and the people who inhabited it. I love utilizing picture books as gentle introductions to notable figures.
16. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This is a truly special book. I won’t give away the plot, but I will say this: Miss Rumphius’s journey to make the world more beautiful will leave you with misty eyes. You and your preschoolers will treasure this book.
What are your favorite books to read in the spring?
Follow me on Instagram @chelsearmoore to see how we are celebrating spring.