The Growing Good Kids-Excellence in Children’s Literature Awards honor the best new children’s books about gardening, nature and the environment. These national awards for children’s literature were created by the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and the Junior Master Gardener Program (JMG program) back in 2005. Since that time, they have been awarded annually.
The awards for 2020 were announced at the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium held virtually this year for the first time in its 28-year history. An event ordinarily held in a different city each year, the annual symposium brings together garden educators, administrators, designers, and others who work with youth in garden spaces.
The silver lining of the shift this year to a virtual symposium due to the ongoing pandemic, according to Katherine Somerville, the American Horticultural Society’s associate manager of programs, was to deliver a more sustainable and affordable professional development event for many more educators. Over 350 people from as far away as Australia registered to view or participate in the sessions on topics ranging from vermicomposting and regenerative gardening to universal design.
This year’s Growing Good Kids-Excellence in Children’s Literature Award winners are:
(1) Badger’s Perfect Garden by Marcia Diane Arnold, illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki (Sleeping Bear Press, Ann Arbor, MI, 2019);
(2) The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter, written and illustrated by Shabazz Larkin (Reader to Eaters, San Francisco, CA, 2019);
(3) We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines, illustrated by Julianna Swaney (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2019; and
(4) Right This Very Minute, A table-to-farm book about food and farm by Lisl H. Detlefsen, illustrated by Renee Kurilla (Feeding Minds Press, Washington, DC, 2019)
The 2020 winners join an impressive list of winners. In 2005 when the awards were first established, the AHS and the JMG program recognized 40 books for children as Growing Good Kids Classics. This initial list included well-known classics in children’s literature such as Christina Bjork’s Linnea in Monet’s Garden, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Frances Hodgson’s The Secret Garden. A list of all winners over the past fifteen years is viewable on-line.
(Frank W. Barrie, 11/17/20)