Celebrity Gardeners and Books for Young Eco Warriors

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Isn’t it lovely when you meet a ‘celebrity’ in real life and they are exactly as you imagined them? ChickPea and I were fortunate enough to meet Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC’s ‘Gardening Australia’  and the garden gnome on ‘Get Grubby TV’, when he came to my mum’s school recently.

Sustainability Literature for Young People

Costa Georgiadis is a landscape architect and television presenter who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people.

It was as good as 'One Direction' arriving! Placards were waved, chants were called, an arch for Costa to walk through was formed.
Placards were waved, chants were called, an arch was formed for Costa to walk through as he arrived.

Costa won the hearts of us librarians when he talked to WCC students about the barrage of information they experience everyday, and filtering through that information to make informed decisions. He talked with incredible passion about knowledge and that once you know something, no one can take that away from you. In this case he was talking about the basics of composting and all things sustainability – and he had the students enthralled.

That is indeed worm tea being poured over his head.
That is indeed worm tea being poured over his head.

Whatever you may think of Costa’s beard , the man is a larger than life personality, with an incredible knowledge and a passion for growing gardens, communities, food, knowledge and understanding.

Is Costa here YET? ChickPea with a Costa Cupcake for Costa.
Is Costa here YET? ChickPea with a Costa Cupcake for Costa.

I don’t have half Costa’s passion or knowledge, but I do love getting grubby in the garden and am a firm believer in school gardening clubs (mine is called ‘Earth Angels’) and growing some of your own food at home. Our most successful gardening projects both at home have been our worm towers, our carrot pots and our fairy garden, which could just as easily be a dinosaur garden if that’s your child’s preference.

'Ned' in the WCC Diggers Garden
‘Ned’ in the WCC Diggers Garden

My favourite ‘Sustainability for Children’ books are below – in no particular order. Some are Australian (my preference), but some are overseas titles which are still fabulous for projects, tips and ideas. Love them all – they are on high rotation in my library and I’d love to see them in every school library.


Click on ‘Buy from Booktopia’ when shopping online in Australia to #supportaustralian. Apple, Amazon and Book Depository options for overseas & eBook purchases. Purchase in store from your local independent bookstore where possible #supportlocal.

‘Yucky Worms’

by Vivian French

My favourite ‘worm’ book for littlies is ‘Yucky Worms’ and my full review (and worm tower instructions) can be seen here. 

‘The Gardener’

by Sarah Stewart. Illustrated by David Small

‘The Gardener’ is a ‘new to me’ title. It made me get all weepy in front of preppies the other day it is just so gorgeous. A story of the incredible power of gardens to give people meaning in life and to connect generations and communities. So a must have!

‘Sylvia’

by Christine Sharp

Dear Simon Green, I love you. I love your luscious lettuce, choice cucumbers and buttery beans. I desire your dandelion, cabbage and kale. Oh, Simon Green, how I pine for your parsley leaves and fresh young peas. Your spinach and your strawberries are so scrumptious.

Sylvia the snail is in love with Simon Green and his perfect produce. But Sylvia is just a small snail in a gigantic garden, so how can she get him to notice her?

‘Backyard Self-sufficiency

by Jackie French

Not so much a children’s book, but easy to read…Jackie’s ‘Backyard Self- sufficiency’ has taught me (and my Earth Angels at school) so much. Take the time to read about my love of Jackie here.

‘Gardening Projects for Kids’

by Jenny Hendy

Buy from Apple Books

‘Gardening Projects for Kids’  by Jenny Hendy is English but has some fabulous projects for any child gardener accompanied by photographs and simple instructions. We’ve made a sweet pea tower, succulent pots, windowsill salad pots, upcycled CD ‘hangy things’, bulbs in glasses and mini glasshouses. 

‘It’s Our Garden’

by George Ancona

‘It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden’ by George Ancona.Okay so this book is set in Mexico, BUT this is one of the most inspiring books I have read about school kitchen gardens. My own girls loved it, as do my girls at school who help me in the garden. I got some fabulous ideas from this book like having an easel in the garden for children to make observations or do sketches, and building an outdoor pizza oven (PLEASE Dan?). It takes the reader through a whole year in a school garden where volunteers, parents, teachers and students all work together to produce the best outcomes. Perfect. Loved it.

‘Organic Vegetable Gardening’

by Annette McFarlane

For Australian gardeners you can’t go past Annette McFarlane in my opinion! We use ‘Organic Vegetable Gardening’ to plan our crops each year at school.

‘Organic Fruit Growing’

by Annette McFarlane

And similarly, we use ‘Organic Fruit Growing’ to care for our (few at this stage) fruit trees at school and home.

‘Amelia Ellicott’s Garden’

by Liliana Stafford
*currently out of print. Check your local or school library

‘Isabella’s Garden’

by Glenda Millard & Rebecca Cook

‘The Potato People’

by Pamela Allen

‘The Tiny Seed’

by Eric Carle

‘Mrs Millie’s Painting’

by Matt Ottley

‘Scribbly Gum Secrets’

by Dannika Patterson & Megan Forward 

‘Florette’

by Anna Walker

‘We Are The Gardeners’

by Joanna Gaines and Julianna Swaney

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘The Gift’

by Michael Speechley

‘Uno’s Garden’

by Graeme Base

‘The Night Gardener’

by Terry Fan & Eric Fan

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘All Through the Year’

by Jane Godwin & Anna Walker

‘Mamie’

by Tania McCartney

‘The Incredible Edible Garden’

by Victoria Breheny

‘Up In The Garden And Down In The Dirt’

by Kate Messner & Christopher Silas Neal

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘A Patch From Scratch’

by Megan Forward

‘In The Garden’

by Emma Giuliani

‘Emily Green’s Garden’

by Penny Harrison & Megan Forward

‘Landing with Wings’

by Trace Balla

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree – a poem for every day of the year’

selected by Fiona Waters. Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

‘Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten’

by Bob Graham

‘The Secret Sky Garden’

by Linda Sarah & Fiona Lumbers

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘Jasper’s Beanstalk’

by Nick Butterworth & Mick Inkpen

‘Linnea In Monet’s Garden’

by Christina Bjork, Lena Anderson & Joan Sandin (translator)

‘Planting A Rainbow’

by Lois Ehlert

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

‘Flower Garden’

by Eve Bunting

Buy from Apple Books

‘Grandpa’s Garden’

by Stella Fry & Sheila Moxley

‘Home’

by Jeannie Baker

‘The Curious Garden’

by Peter Brown

‘Beauty’

by Sandra Kendell

‘The Bug Girl (A True Story)’

by Sophia Spencer & Margaret McNamara. Illustrated by Kerascoet

Print & eBook available

Buy from Apple Books

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This post was originally published in March, 2015 and has recently been updated.

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4 Comments

  1. Tania McCartney on Mar 13, 2015 at 8:30 am

    What a sensational post–all kids should experience these books. And thanks for including Eco Warriors! x

    • Megan Daley on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:23 am

      How could I NOT include it! I was just using Eco Warriors again the other day with some prep children.

  2. Sharolyn on Mar 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    That’s a lovely picture of your mum managing question time. Gardening is so much fun! Will look in to some of these books.

    • Megan Daley on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:24 am

      I like this pic too! She of course does not (do we EVER like pics of ourselves?!). I adore gardening.

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