Please welcome my guest author today, Maria Gianferrari, with her farm book list. Her newest picture book, Thank A Farmer, celebrates farmers.
Thank A Farmer by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Monica Mikai
Learn about the origins of food in this gorgeous and lyrical picture book that celebrates farmers who bring us all kinds of produce and goods. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
We are giving away a copy of Thank a Farmer. To enter, please enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
What are your favorite picture books about farms? Thanks for sharing!
I love fall—it’s my favorite season, especially here in New England! Fall is synonymous with harvest—a time when we gather together to share food with our families and communities and are grateful for its bounty. I am also grateful for the opportunity to share our new book, Thank a Farmer, a celebration of farmers, farm workers, and the foods grown with care and joy. Our book, gorgeously illustrated in earthy tones by Monica Mikai, was just released on September 5th by Norton Young Readers.
Let’s start with the fun part—since Mia also has a farm book out this year, Food for the Future, we’ll be celebrating together with an event at Newton Community Farm with Newtonville Books later this fall. So if you’re in the Massachusetts area, save the date: November 4th (details to come!)
Now on to the books, starting with …
Food for the Future: Sustainable Farming Around the World by Mia Wenjen, illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng
In rhyming couplets, Food for the Future explores a unique array of sustainable farming methods around the globe. This informative book covers both ancient and indigenous methods such as salt farms in Kaua`i, oyster farms in Australia, and terrace farms in Chile that work with, rather than against, the rhythms of the earth. For example, salt farms only use natural elements like sun, clay soil, and lava stones to shape the beds for drying salt, while terrace farms, help prevent erosion and landslides by building steps into the sides of hills. It also covers newer and creative solutions that help solve problems of food justice too, like mushroom farms that use little water, or high-tech urban farming methods such as food forests, vertical farming, rooftop gardens, and more. Back matter provides further details about each farming method. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Hey, Hey, Hay!: A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them by Christy Mihaly, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Hey, hay! This rhyming book celebrates hay and haying, starting with the clever subtitle: a “tale of bales.” From the hay itself, storing “summer sun” to the machines, mowers, tedders, and balers, that aid in the haying process, to the storing of bales in the barn. Don’t forget to try the recipe for Switchel, a refreshing drink made from apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, ginger, and water, best enjoyed on those hot summer days while the hay is drying in the fields (recipe included). [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Author Nancy Castaldo and illustrator Ginnie Hsu have two agriculture-based books:
The Farms That Feeds Us by Nancy Castaldo, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu
Using a seasonal structure and a farm-to-table focus, The Farm that Feeds Us surveys different types of farms: poultry, dairy, arable (plants), sheep and orchards (for fruit and nuts), and what’s happening from spring to winter: from tilling to tending, picking and planting, sheering and milking, and the farming equipment used for these purposes, to the seasonal harvesting and prepping for farmers’ markets. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The World That Feeds Us by Nancy Castaldo, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu
Again through a seasonal lens, The World That Feeds Us focuses on sustainable and green farming methods used all over the world. Topics include urban farming (rooftop gardens, hydroponics, aquaculture, vertical and indoor farms), forest farms, land use, such as cover crops, protection of pollinators bio and breed diversity, and more! [picture book, ages 5 and up]
On the Farm by David Elliott, illustrated by the late Holly Meade
On the Farm is a clever poetic celebration of farm creatures, from “udderly” amazing cows, barn cats (“mice should think twice”), and lambs who grow up to be “bamming” rams—a delightful read-aloud. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Amara’s Farm by Janay Brown Wood, illustrated by Samara Handy
For younger readers, Amara’s Farm is hugged by delicious-looking endpapers and follows Amara and her trusty dog as they search the farm to pluck pumpkins for an autumn potluck with friends. The color palette is warm and inviting and this interactive seek-and-find is an informative exploration of other fruits and vegetables the pair discover on their pumpkin quest. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Farm Boots by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by Renée Kurilla
Farm Boots also has charming booty endpapers! Rhyming couplets and adorable art convey the farm boots needed season by season to complete a variety of farm-oriented chores from planting, tending, milking, riding, showing (at county fairs), harvesting, milking, and more. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
I’ll end with this classic favorite which is surprisingly now ten years old:
Farmer Will Allen and The Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin
It’s the story of Will Allen—son of sharecroppers and retired basketball player, and how he became an urban farmer and founder of Growing Power, with the goal of eliminating food deserts in urban areas and working toward food justice for all. Allen transforms empty, urban buildings and lots into sustainable city farming plots beginning with red wiggler worms to create healthy soil from food waste and using aquaculture and fish waste water as fertilizer. Allen makes creative use of space, growing flowers and food in hanging baskets, in boxes, and buckets, on shelves and in hoop houses, and educating the community about growing their own food. An inspiring tale of an innovative thinker and doer. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
Thank a Farmer picture book GIVEAWAY!
Our publisher, Norton Young Readers, is generously donating a copy of Thank a Farmer to a Pragmatic Mom reader (US addresses only—sorry!)
Thanks for letting me chat about farm books, Mia!
And the next time you visit your local farmer’s market, don’t forget to thank the farmers!
Maria Gianferrari is a community scientist, self-taught naturalist, and bird nerd who holds an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English. She is the author of nonfiction picture books that celebrate urban ecosystems, the natural world, and our wild neighbors. Maria lives in Massachusetts and loves bird-watching from her kitchen window while sipping her morning cup of tea. Her next title with Roaring Brook Press, To Dogs, With Love, releases in December. Maria’s Being a Cat: A Tail of Curiosity was released in April; other forthcoming 2023 titles include Thank a Farmer (September) and Fungi Grow (October).
p.s. Related posts:
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Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World
- Junior Library Guild Gold selection
- Selected as one of 100 Outstanding Picture Books of 2023 by dPICTUS and featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
- Starred review from School Library Journal
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.