Category Archives: Nature

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

“The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver”

George Washington Carver’s tale begins in a secret garden that he kept as a child. Exploring the woods to discover something new, young George studied nature on his own. 

No matter how much others tried to discourage him, George grew his flower garden, experimenting and learning. He wanted to share what he learned with others. Soon he became known as “the Plant Doctor.” 

At age twelve, he left his home and attended many schools to study agriculture and art. In 1896, George becomes the first Black man to graduate from Iowa Agricultural College with a master’s degree. During his life, George experiments with new crops, particularly the peanut. He develops over three hundred uses for the peanut. Check out this book to learn more about George Washington Carver’s life.

At the back of the book is a timeline of George Washington Carver’s life with further reading recommendations and a bibliography.

The gorgeous illustrations entrap the reader within George’s world.

This book promotes creative components of a creative person, courage, perseverance, and inventiveness.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK:  I like this book because it shows rather than tells the story of George through word painting and illustrations. 

TITLE: The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

AUTHOR: Gene Barretta

ILLUSTRATOR: Frank Morrison

PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books, 2020


TOPIC(S): biography of George Washington Carver

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: creative person, courage, perseverance, inventive


1) Plant a garden filled with vegetables that you enjoy eating.

2) Care for a plant in your home. Try experimenting with sunlight by placing the plant in different windows. See which light source helps your plant grow best. 

3) Design an experiment to grow a plant, and then do it. What were your results? How might you redesign the experiment to grow more plants?


To learn more about author Gene Barretta visit:

To learn more about illustrator Frank Morrison visit:

Dandelion’s Dream

“Dandelion’s Dream”

In this wordless picture book, a dandelion bud blooms into a lion and goes on a grand adventure before going to seed. 

Without roots to keep him grounded, Dandelion hops a train, rides on a sheep, and sails on a boat to travel to the city. Amidst the city bustle, Lion goes unnoticed. When he sees a movie, he figures out how to fly home. 

Read the book to discover the heartfelt ending, a subtle message of the circle of life. 

Yoko Tanaka’s charcoal illustrations pop with vibrant yellow to illuminate Dandelion’s warm character. 

This book promotes creative components of imagination, nature, and wonder.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK:  I like this book because readers can engage their imaginations to develop their storytelling skills while gaining a hint at the cycle of life.

TITLE: Dandelion’s Dream

AUTHOR: Yoko Tanaka


PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2020


TOPIC(S): wordless, adventure

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, wonder


1) Make a wish on a dandelion.

2) Research the life cycle of a dandelion. Draw out each life stage.

3) Did you know that dandelions are one of the first plants to bloom in the spring? They are early bloomers because their nectar supplies vital food to the queen bee who is emerging from hibernation. Name an additional three ways that dandelions are an important part of the ecosystem. 


To learn more about author/illustrator Yoko Tanaka visit:

I See Sea Food

“I See Sea Food”

Can you find pancakes and pizza crusts in the ocean? 

In this nonfiction picture book, readers discover unusual sea creatures that resemble food like chocolate chip sea stars, pineapplefish, sea apples, and many more. 

Readers learn engaging facts about these underwater animals.

Nature is so cool!

This book promotes creative components of nature and flexible thinking.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK:  I like this book because readers see how these unusual sea creatures received their names by how they resemble common foods.

TITLE: I See Sea Food

AUTHOR: Jenna Grodzicki

ILLUSTRATOR: Jenna Grodzicki

PUBLISHER: Millbrook Press, 2020


TOPIC(S): sea creatures

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: nature, flexible thinking


1) Invent a sea creature that resembles your favorite food.

2) Pick three sea creatures from the book. Combine them together to design a new sea creature. Fill out the fast facts for your new creatures (like in the book). Don’t forget to name your creature!


To learn more about author-illustrator Jenna Grodzicki, visit: