Fruits and Vegetables
Ada, Alma Flor, Zubizarreta,
Rosa, and Simon Silva, Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish
and English, Lothrop, 1997. (PreK-5)
book with exceptional illustrations and excellent poetry that gives
voice to the experience of Hispanic agricultural workers. Each
letter is matched with a Spanish word (for example, "arboles"
for "A") and accompanied by a poem in both Spanish and
English that describes how the plant, fruit, vegetable, person,
or feeling functions in the lives of these workers. The colors
are brilliant, and the scope has a larger-than-life sense to it.
This is a book that begs to be read aloud to all students, whether
they are Spanish speaking or not. The sound of the poems will draw
them in. The touching elegy for Cesar Chavez successfully imparts
the impact of a heroic man on his people.
Anderson, Jodi Lynn, Peaches, HarperTeen, 2006. (Young Adult)
During a summer at the Darlington Peach Orchard in Georgia, Murphy, Leeda, and Birdie discover the true meaning of friendship.
Appelt, Kathi, Watermelon
Day, Henry Holt, 1996. (K-3)
There's a watermelon
growing in the corner of the patch where the fence posts meet, and
Jesse is waiting for it. Waiting for it to fill up with the cool
summer rain and the hot summer sun. Waiting until at last it is
ripe and ready for eating. Waiting until it is ready for her family's
annual Watermelon day.
Basel, Roberta, From Tomato to Ketchup, Capstone, 2005. (Grades
Bauer, Joan, Squashed,
Puffin, 2001. (Young Adult)
If only Ellie's
potentially prize-winning pumpkin would gain 200 more pounds in
time for the Rock River Pumpkin Weigh-In, and if only Ellie could
lose 20 or so pounds herself, her life might be perfect. Well, at
least it would be perfect enough to give her the courage to make
friends with Wes - the cute new guy at school. She's well on her
way to winning big on all counts when frost and pumpkin thieves
begin to attack! The thing is, Ellie has the sass, humor, and smarts
to be a winner - whether or not her pumpkin breaks the scales ...
if only she would realize it.
Bean, Raymond, Sweet Farts # 1, BookSurge, 2008. (Grades 3-5)
Keith Emerson is being blamed for passing some pretty raunchy gas in his classroom. Keith fights back by using his science project to find a cure for the foul smell of the common fart, something Benjamin Franklin tried to do 200 years earlier.
Blackaby, Susan, and Charlene Delage, Plant Plumbing: A Book
About Roots and Stems, Picture Window, 2005.
How do plants store food during cold winter? How do they carry
water up the leaves? The author explains the role of roots and
stems, the two types of roots, stems found both above and below
ground, the function of ther structures and how both help plants
survive. Also includes some simple experiments.
Bloom, Amy Beth, and Noah Z. Jones, Little Sweet Potato, Katherine Tegen, 2012. (Grades PreK-2)
The carrots are disdainful. The eggplants, full of themselves. “You’re a lumpy, bumpy, dumpy vegetable, and we’re beautiful,” the flowers sneer. Luckily, in this mean-kids parable, Little Sweet Potato finds a more accepting patch of flora to plant himself in.
|Braun, Eric Mark, and Cristian Bernadini, Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks! The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk as Told by the Giant, Picture Window, 2011. (Grades K-5)
Brown, Marcia, Stone
Soup, Aladdin, 1997. (Grades PreK-2)
Old French tale
about soldiers who trick miserly villages into making them a
feast. This version won a Caldecott Medal when Brown retold and
illustrated it in 1947.
Cherry, Lynne, How
Groundhog's Garden Grew, Blue Sky, 2003. (K-2)
to eat fresh veggies from his neighbor's garden until a friend teaches
him to plant his own garden.
Child, Lauren, I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, Candlewick, 2007. (Grades PreK-3)
Lola is a fussy eater. One day, after rattling off her long list of despised foods, she proclaims, "And I absolutely will never not ever eat a tomato." Lola's older sister Charlie convinces her to try the despised foods by telling her the peas are "green drops from Greenland, mashed potatoes are "cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji," and so on.
Codell, Esmé Raji, and Lynne Rae Perkins, The Legend and Legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman, HarperCollins, 2012. (Grades PreK-2)
The story of Johnny Appleseed — pioneer, reader, vegetarian, spiritualist, businessman, friend of American Indians and tamer of wolves. He planted apple seeds, too.
Dahl, Roald, and Lane Smith, James
and the Giant Peach, Puffin,
2000. (Grades 4-6)
When James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible
rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts.
One day, an old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag
of magic crystals . When James
accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree,
he sets the adventure in motion. From the old tree a single peach
grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs
inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts
to a whole new life.
de Las Casas, Dianne, and Marita Gentry, The
Gigantic Sweet Potato, Pelican, 2010. (Grades PreK-3)
When Ma Farmer gets a hankering for sweet potato pie, she decides
to plant a sweet potato in her garden. But when it is time to harvest,
the sweet potato has grown to be so enormous that it is stuck.
Includes a recipe for sweet potato pie and sweet potato facts.
(Adaptation of the Russian folktale,
dePaolo, Tomie, Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato—An Irish Folktale, Grosset and Dunlap, 2009. (Grades PreK-2)
Jamie O'Rourke, "the laziest man in all of Ireland," captures a leprechaun who offers magic potato seeds instead of the traditional pot of gold. The resulting spud feeds the O'Rourkes and other villagers for longer than anyone could have imagined.
Duke, Kate, Ready for Pumpkins, Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. (Grades K-2)
Hercules is a first-grade rodent, in a multilayered tale about time, the seasons and the long, impatient wait for a full-grown pumpkin to pick. When the teacher takes Herky to her country home for the summer, he discovers his horticultural side. Especially marvelous is what Herky’s accomplishment shows children: animals and plants have lives and life cycles of their own. (New York Times review)
Eclare, Melanie, A
Harvest of Color: Growing a Vegetable Garden, Ragged Bears, 2002.
A group of
neighborhood children transforms a bare patch of earth into a vegetable
garden, and in so doing, they learn how to plant in straight rows,
how to thin seedlings, and how to cope with slugs and worms. They
make notes on their efforts and compile useful lists of gardening
tips. The result is a colorful, graphic scrapbook-diary-photo album.
Ehlert, Lois, Eating
the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables From A to Z, Voyager,
tour of fruits and vegetables, featuring vibrantly colored collage
illustrations, large capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet,
an A to Z glossary of produce and a pronunciation guide.
Ehlert, Lois, Growing
Vegetable Soup, Voyager, 1990. (Grades K-2)
collage illustrations, a father and child share the simple joys
of planting, watering, and watching seeds grow in their garden.
Then they cook them all up into a delicious vegetable soup, the
recipe for which is included.
Farmer, Jacqueline, Pumpkins, Charlesbridge,
2004. (Grades PreK-2 )
Facts, history, legend, and growing tips about
one of the favorite fruits of fall. In addition to instructions
on pumpkin carving (and safety) and seed toasting, the author includes
the word for the berry in other languages, a brief list of pumpkin
world records, and recommended readings and Web sites.
Fleischman, Paul, and
Judy Pederson, Seedfolks, HarperCollins, 1997. (Grades 4-7)
voices, Fleischman takes readers to a modern inner-city neighborhood.
where bit by bit the handful of lima beans an immigrant child plants
in an empty lot blossoms into a community garden, tended by a notably
diverse group of local residents. Toughened by the experience of
putting her children through public school, Leona spends several
days relentlessly bullying her way into government offices to get
the lot's trash hauled away; others address the lack of readily
available water, as well as problems with vandals and midnight dumpers;
and though decades of waging peace on a small scale have made Sam
an expert diplomat, he's unable to prevent racial and ethnic borders
from forming. Still, the garden becomes a place where wounds heal,
friendships form, and seeds of change are sown.
Galindo, Mary Sue, and Pauline Rodriguez Howard, Icy Watermelon/Sandia
Fria, Arte Pinata, 2008. (Grades PreK-2)
In this bilingual picture book,
three Latino children share riddles and stories with their parents
and grandparents as they eat watermelon on Sunday afternoon.
Abuelo remembers that when he was a boy, he helped his father
harvest watermelons and sell them along the highway and in the
barrios. In fact, that's how Abuelo met his wife. When her mother
sent her to buy a watermelon, her dog jumped in the truck and
went after Abuelo, and he dropped the fruit. His face was "redder that the watermelon lying
all over the street," but he was in love. The text appears
in both English and Spanish on each page.
Gibbons, Gail, The Berry Book, Holiday House, 2002. (Grades PreK-3)
Discussion of how berries grow in the wild and how they are cultivated
in fields and gardens domestically, including the impact of climate.
The author describes the uses of edible berries and even provides
directions for growing strawberries.
Gibbons, Gail, The Pumpkin Book, Live Oak, 2004. (Grades PreK-3)
Explains that pumpkins belong to the squash
family, that there are different varieties, and that each has a different
purpose. Provides a nice overview of how pumpkins are grown their
history and uses. Also includes a few fun activities.
Harris, Jim, Jack
and the Giant: A Story Full of Beans, Rising Moon, 1997. (K-3)
Jack and his
mother, Annie Okey-Dokey, live on a ranch in Arizona. A giant has
stolen all their cattle, and they're forced to sell their last cow
- which Jack trades for beans. The magic beanstalk this time leads
to an adobe castle in the sky, where Jack encounters the giant cattle
rustler Wild Bill Hiccup; from then on, the story takes its predictable
turns. Filled with puns and twists, this re-telling is fun, though
the humor sometimes borders on the crass (rather than a goose laying
golden eggs, there's a buffalo laying golden chips). The cartoon-style
art is big and bright, though the exaggerated features and characteristics,
reminiscent of political cartoons, might intimidate the younger
ones. Still, those familiar with the original will enjoy Jack in
this new setting, and adults will appreciate some of the more sophisticated
and sly asides down on the range.
Hawkins, Linda J., Alexander and
the Great Food Fight, Turner, 2002. (pre-K-3)
Alexander's afternoon snacking
choice becomes a heated argument among some feisty fruit about
which is the best for Alexander's young, growing body.
Hutchens, Paul, The Watermelon Mystery (Sugar Creek Gang Series), Moody, 1998. (Grades 4-6)
First, a grocery store robbery. Then somebody steals Bill Collins's prize watermelon.
James, Ray, Plant Cycle (Nature's Cycles), Rourke, 2007. (Grades
Covers all appropriate information about seeds,
germination, flowering and pollination. Excellent photographs. Various
dissemination methods and adaptations to different climates are
also included. Also includes trees and nuts.
Koller, Jackie French, and John Manders, Peter Spit a Seed at Sue, Viking Juvenile, 2008. (Grades PreK-3)
Four bored children visit a man selling watermelon slices from his truck, dig into them, and soon begin slurping and spitting, leading the way for the rest of the town to follow suit. When the mayor appears and it seems the game is off, she surprises everyone and ups the ante—by throwing pies!
Krauss, Ruth, The
Carrot Seed, HarperTrophy, 1989. (Grades PreK-1)
A classic story about a little boy who plants a carrot seed that
becomes a carrot.
Landau, Elaine, Tomatoes (A True Book), Children's, 2000. (Grades
The story of tomatoes, from the early cultivation
by the Aztecs to the introduction of the tomato to
Europe by the Spanish conquistadors to modern cultivation in backyards,
greenhouses and large scale production. Includes the processing of
tomatoes into a variety of products.
Lee, Brenda Cartee, Lunch at the
Zoo, Little Cottage, 2003. (pre-K-3)
Humor, zoo animals, bright
illustrations and the escapades of a little boy named Bubba teach
children to choose a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables over
unhealthy junk foods.
Levenson, George, and Shmuel Thaler, Pumpkin Circle: The Story
of a Garden, Tricycle, 2002. (Grades PreK-1)
The development of a pumpkin seed into a plant,
pumpkin, jack-o-lantern, and, completing the cycle, back to seed
Lin, Grace, The Ugly Vegetables, Charlesbridge, 2009. (Grades
A good introduction to multiculturalism and the benefits
of differences. A little girl is distressed by the ugly vegetables
her mother is growing in their garden, while the neighbors are all
growing pretty flowers. At harvest, the ugly vegetables fill the
air with a wonderful aroma, and soon the neighbors are trading their
flowers for her mother's soup. The book includes a list of the "ugly"
Chinese vegetables, with pronunciations, images and descriptions -
and a recipe for the soup.
Lipton, Eden Ross, and Mordicai Gerstein, Applesauce Season,
Roaring Brook, 2009. (Grades PreK-3)
Three generations of urban homebodies and apple lovers take part
in a seasonal rite that leads form farmer's market to stove top
to dining room table.
Llewellyn, Claire, What's for Lunch? Peas, Franklin Watts,
2003. (Grades 1-5)
The colorful, high-quality photographs complement
the text and tell half the story. The book accurately depicts planting seed
through harvesting, storage, packing and processing peas. Included
with the production photos are a series of three time-lapse photos
of seed germinationa and seedling growth. The book accurately portrays
aerial spraying to control pests. also includes two photos of mechanical
Llewellyn, Claire, What's for Lunch? Potatoes, Franklin
Watts, 2003. (Grades 1-5)
Explores the different ways in which potatoes are
produced and processed. Shows how potatoes are grown and how people
around the world eat them in a variety of ways. Includes below-the-soil
photos which show tuber formation and growth.
Lottridge, Celia, One Watermelon Seed, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012. (Grades PreK-2)
Numbers, colors, and gardening are combined in this vividly illustrated counting book. The story starts as Max and Josephine plant a garden, first 1 watermelon seed, then 2 pumpkin seeds, and so on all the way to 10. The phrase, "and they grew" follows mention of each new set of seeds. The illustrations depict the seedlings as they grow. After a center spread with colorful plants filling the pages to capacity and Max and Josephine busy at work, it's time for the harvest. The fruits and vegetables are so plentiful that they must be counted in tens: "ten watermelons, big and green, and twenty pumpkins, glowing orange." Later, on a cold winter night, the children turn "one hundred ears of corn" into "100s and 1000s of big, white crunchy puffs" of popcorn. Throughout the book, the text runs along the bottom of the double-paged illustrations, with the numerals, in bright colors, lining up beneath. This appealing book is great for classroom counting and discussions of seasons.
Briggs, and Alec Gillman, The Green Truck Garden Giveaway: A
Neighborhood Story and Almanac, Simon and Schuster, 1996. (Grades
drive their green pickup truck down Second Street, giving away almanacs
and planting small gardens for reluctant neighbors. As time goes
by, the gardens thrive and so do the neighbors, who begin to share
their harvest of produce and happiness with others. Throughout the
book, informative sidebars tell readers about topics related to
the story: why medieval insomniacs ate lettuce, what to plant in
order to attract butterflies, and how to make sprays that repel
insects from plants.
McClure, Nikki, Apple, Abrams Appleseed, 2012. (Grades PreK-1)
Block cutouts travel backward from ripe fruit to planted seed. The text is one-word-per-page minimal.
McKy, Katie, and Pablo Bernasconi, Pumpkin
Town! or, Nothing is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins, Sandpiper,
2008. (Grades PreK-2)
After five brothers accidentally spill seeds over a small town,
they feel responsible when pumpkins and vines begin to overrun
the houses the next year.
McNamara, Margaret, and G. Brian Karas, How
Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, Schwartz and Wade, 2007. (Grades PreK-2)
The story teaches math and science concepts while modeling kind
behavior. The author introduces counting by twos, fives and tens
and includes pumpkin facts, e.g., the more lines on the pumpkin,
the more seeds it will have.
Moser, Lisa, and Ben Mantle, Perfect Soup, Random House, 2010.
Murray the mouse wants to make perfect soup on a perfect winter
day but he doesn't have a carrot.
Moser, Lisa, and Stacey Schuett, Watermelon Wishes, Clarion, 2006.
When Charlie and his grandfather plant a watermelon patch together, Charlie hopes that one seed will become a special kind of watermelon that gives one wish. As they enjoy fishing, picnicking, playing basketball, and swimming, Grandpap tries to guess what his grandson would ask for. In the end, Charlie reveals that his wish is for another summer with his grandfather like the one they just had.
Mulder, Michelle, After Peaches, Orca, 2009. (Grades 4-6)
Ten-year-old Rosario is a Mexican immigrant to Canada embarrassed that she doesn't speak or write English well. Written in first person, this chapter book reflects the experiences and emotions of the many immigrant children. Includes an author's note on migrant farm workers and a glossary of Spanish words.
Perez, L. King, and
Robert Casilla, First Day in Grapes, Lee & Low, 2002.
up in a migrant family, Chico has experienced first school days
in artichokes and first days in onions, and "now his first day in
third grade would be in grapes." His encounters with bullies and
the grumpy school bus driver shake Chico's confidence, but a friendly
classmate and an understanding teacher help him adjust. Realistic
watercolor, pastel, and colored-pencil illustrations portray Chico's
Pfeffer, Wendy, and James Graham Hale, From
Seed to Pumpkin,
Collins, 2004. (Grades PreK-2)
Accurately depicts germination, pumpkins growing
and still green, pumpkins changing colors and uses for pumpkins.
Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds, Millbrook, 2003. (Preschool)
to seeds, their purpose, and growth. On each page, one or two short
lines of text appear beneath a large illustration. Can be used as
a read-aloud discussion starter, a prelude to planting seeds and
observing their growth, or in preparation for dissecting fruits and
vegetables in order to find the seeds inside. Two final pages in
question-and-answer format offer more tidbits of information about
seeds. Tiny silhouette people and suitcases parading across the bottom
of the pages visually emphasize the suitcase theme.
Robbins, Ken, Pumpkins, Square Fish, 2007. (Grades
The author documents the life cycle of a pumpkin
with close-up, naturalistic photos and clear, simple text. He discusses
the wide variety of pumpkin colors and sizes. Basic instructions
are included for carving a jack-o-lantern, with adult help suggested.
The next year's crop, ensured by the pumpkins and their seeds left
to rot in the field, is the focus of the last spread.
Ryan, Pam Munoz, How Do You Raise a Raisin?, Charlesbridge,
2003. (Grades 2-4)
This book explains how grapes become raisins, who
introduced the seedless grape, raisins throughout history, nutrition
and the many uses for raisins.
Salas, Laura Purdie, Lettuce Introduce You:
Poems About Food,
Capstone, 2008. (Grades PreK-2)
This fun assortment of poetry explores nutrition
through a variety of poetry formats.
Smath, Jerry, I Like Pumpkins, Cartwheel, 2003. (Grades PreK-2)
Some pumpkins are tall; some pumpkins are squat. Some pumpkins are
big; some pumpkins are not. A little girl tells her favorite things
about pumpkins, like pumpkin masks, pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie.
Stevens, Janet, Tops & Bottoms, Harcourt Brace, 1995. (K-4)
Hoping to rise
above his level of poverty, clever Hare strikes a deal with a rich
and lazy bear in which Bear will contribute the land while Hare
will provide the labor for a profitable harvest.
Stone, Lynn, Fruit (Plant Parts), Rourke, 2007. (Grades PreK-2)
Beautifully photographed book about fruit is basic
but accurate. It is an excellent resource for teaching pollination
and seed development and the difference between a fruit and a vegetable.
Tagliaferro, Linda, The Life Cycle of a
Bean, Capstone, 2007.
This early reader book explores the development
of the green snap bean, from seed through germination, growth,
flower development and pollination, on to seed development.
Tagliaferro, Linda, The Life Cycle of a Carrot, Capstone,
2007. (Grades PreK-2)
Watch tiny carrots grow into carrots we eat. Learn
about this vegetable's life cycle, from start to finish.
Thurman, Kathryn K., and Lindsay Ward, A
Garden for Pig, Kane
Miller, 2010. (Grades PreK-3)
Whimsically illustrated story about a pig who craves vegetables
also includes tips for kids to plant their own organic gardens.
Pumpkin Pumpkin, Mulberry, 1990, (Grades K-3)
a pumpkin seed in the spring and, after watching it grow all summer,
carves a face in it for Halloween. But best of all, he saves some
seeds that he will plant again next spring.
Tofts, Hannah, One Cool Watermelon, Zero to Ten, 2008. (Grades PreK-2)
Kids can count their way to healthy eating with this delicious introduction to math through familiar fruits and vegetables. A variety of discussion subjects are introduced, including identifying favorite foods, investigating taste differences such as sweet and hot, examining textures such as smooth and sticky, and comparing the differences in the size of the items as well as their colors. A playful and interactive layout allows the reader to open flaps and view the inside of each fruit or vegetable.
Wada, Stephanie, and Kano Naganobu, Momotaro and the Island of Ogres, George Braziller, 2005. (Grades 3-8)
For centuries Japanese storytellers have recounted how Momotaro, the baby found inside a peach and raised by a childless couple, grew up to defeat a tribe of thieving ogres. Kano Naganobu (1775-1828), an official painter for the Shogun, depicted Momotaro's exploits on a pair of silk handscrolls. Wada retells Peach Boy's adventures to accompany reproductions of scenes from those scrolls. The delicate watercolors depict the hero and his animal helpers against mist-shrouded backdrops of mountain and sea.
Weiss, Ellen, From Eye to Potato, Children's, 2007. (Grades
Shows how potatoes are grown and harvested.
Weiss, Ellen, From Pit to Peach Tree, Children's, 2007. (Grades
Describes peach production, beginning with the
peach pit, and shows how peaches are harvested.
Wellington, Monica, Apple
Farmer Annie, Dutton, 2001. (Preschool)
Annie, the apple farmer, saves her most beautiful apples to sell
fresh at the farmer's market in the city. She picks plenty of sweet,
crunchy apples and makes applesauce, apple cider and baked apple
Winner, Ramona Moreno, and Nicole Velasquez and Mary McConnell, Lucas and His Loco Beans: A Tale of the Mexican Jumping Bean, Brainstorm 3000, 2002.
Bilingual tale in rhyme of the Mexican jumping bean teaches children the fun in nature and the miraculous discoveries encountered while taking a walk.