Garden themed Books

Division 5 is participating in the Growing Chefs program and learning all about growing plants, urban agriculture and the wonder of vegetables! Our windowsills are full of seedlings and we are indulging in many garden themed read alouds to learn more about the magic of gardens, growing and green. The following is a list of books that will be part of our reading:

The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne

An informative information story book that details the lifecycle of the Queen bee. Touches on hive life, pollination and human behaviour towards bees.

Deborah Hodge‘s Watch me Grow and Up we Grow (photographs by Brian Harris)

These books have special meaning as Deborah Hodge gifted them to our class when she visited in the fall! These books immerse us in the world of gardening and growing! One focuses on life on a small farm and the other looks at growing food in the city.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering

 In Cement Land, the promise of a packet of seeds is huge admist the gray drab world. Highlights the magic of watching seeds transform into plants!

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small

Can a package of flower seeds bring happiness and beauty to a family during the Great Depression?

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam lives in the city and nurtures a struggling garden into a majestic green world. The power of a garden to invade (in the best of ways) stark city life.

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

We each need to do something to make the world a more beautiful place. Miss Rumphius spreads lupine seeds throughout the countryside and the resulting flowers have a transformative effect on everyone who stumbles upon them.

Westlandia written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Wesley creates Weslandia, his own civilization using the plants he grows from some mysterious seeds and the products he makes from them.

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long

Poetic text and beautifully detailed illustrations introduce us to the wonder of both familiar and unfamiliar seeds.

The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

When Theodora’s Grandfather must leave his beloved garden when he moves to an apartment, granddaughter and grandfather create a beautiful garden from seed to flower through the power of art and love.

Deborah Hodge visits Division 5!

On November 15th, 2011, local author Deborah Hodge visited Division 5 to share her books, her process and her knowledge with us.

Author Deborah Hodge

Deborah Hodge has a fantastic blog to check out and even wrote about her visit with us at Seymour! Students were very excited when I let them know that we had an author coming to visit. When Deborah came to the door just before the recess bell, she was greeted by a huge hug from Sergio who looked up at her and said: “Hi Deborah. I really like to read books.” During recess, Deborah set up all of her books around the classroom and when students returned, Shae-Lynn exclaimed, “Did you really write all of those books?” It was a very impressive display!

Deborah explained that when she had been a teacher, many of her students wanted to read non-fiction books but the text and language was just not at their level. She was motivated to create non-fiction titles that were much more accessible – full of fabulous non-fiction features like labelled diagrams, a glossary, fact boxes and interesting facts! Each book contains something life sized in a drawing at the back of each book.

Deborah’s first book was Bears, a popular title in our classroom.

Deborah began sharing the steps in making a non-fiction book like doing the research, writing the text, revising and editing, working with an illustrator, etc. She shared examples of each step as she described it. At one point about mid-way through the series of steps, one student let out a big sigh. “Wow! There really are a lot of steps in making a non-fiction book!

Deborah also shared some cool facts she learned as she researched her various books. A few favourites of ours:

  • An anaconda is as long as a bus and as heavy as two big men
  • When a polar bear cub is born, it is as small as the palm of your hand
  • A mother deer leaves the fawn alone when it is first born so that her scent won’t attract predators.

Deborah also brought in animal fur and animal skulls to show us. Very interesting and fun to interact with!



Deborah left us with more than a great learning experience – about how non-fiction books are made, about animals, and about furs and skulls. She left us with some lovely gifts.

First she signed our classroom copy of  Lily and the Mixed up Letters. This wonderful book about a little girl who struggles learning to read is of course written by Deborah and illustrated by France Brassard. It is a favourite of both Ms. Gelson and Ms. Hibbert.

Then Deborah gifted our classroom with two of her latest and greatest books! We plan to delve into these books in the Spring when we can learn more about growing food in different places.

Then, last but not least, Deborah gave each student a copy of one of her non-fiction titles.

I am a big believer of children owning their own books and having their own book collections – the power of “books in hand and in home.” Deborah signed each book for each child and in the last week I have heard students making comments like, “Did you read about . . . . in our book?” Thank you Deborah for such an amazing morning and such generosity!