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Using Garden Books as Windows and Mirrors
Topic: literature, culture
Time to Complete: 1+ hours
Grade Level: Preschool, K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Location(s): Indoor, Outdoor
Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
https://kidsgardening.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Using-Garden-Books-as-Windows-and-Mirrors-1.pdf
child in garden with face partially hidden by plants
Activity
When we read books that act as “windows” and “mirrors” with kids, it can help them cultivate acceptance, understanding, and compassion, as well as reaffirm their unique culture, traditions, and backgrounds.

Materials

  • Age-appropriate children’s book related to gardening or food (see list below for recommendations)

Instructions

  1. Choose a garden or food focused book that can serve as a “window” or “mirror” for the kids who will be reading it.
  2. Read the book in advance. If the book does not include any, write a list of pre-reading questions that encourage kids to think about the story in the context of culture, belonging, and celebrating diversity.
  3. As an opener to pique their interest, show the kids the cover and ask them what they think the book will be about. Listen to their guesses but do not give away the story!
  4. If you will be reading the book out loud with younger children, take time to pause during the reading to engage them. For example, ask questions about pictures, what they recognize from the garden, or what they think will happen.
  5. If older kids will be reading a longer/chapter book on their own, give them questions beforehand to respond to as written reflections.
  6. For any age group, facilitate a post-reading group discussion. You can ask questions such as:
    • Can you relate to what happened in the story? Would you like to share about your experience?
    • What did the main character learn?
    • What is something new you learned?
    • What are things that you were familiar with?
    • Did the book change your mind about something you believed before you read it?</li.

    Continue to read a diverse range of books with your youth gardeners. Incorporate what you learn with what you do in the garden, and facilitate discussions that allow them to take pride in their identities and embrace those of their peers.

  7. Provide kids with a list of “window” and “mirror” books that they can read on their own or with their families and encourage them to explore and learn about different languages, foods, and cultures.

Recommended Gardening Books for Kids

Various children's books in front of a window, with plants in the background.

Pre-K & Kindergarten

Elementary

Middle School 

Bilingual

Coloring

For additional ideas of recommended garden books related to racial and cultural diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, check out the following resources:

 

Related Resources

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