A Daisy Is a Daisy Is a Daisy (Except When It’s a Girl’s Name)

Many girls are named after flowers (or even forms of the word “flower,” such as Flora). Girls’ names in different languages accompany her imaginative illustrations of flowers, so that the reader discovers, for example, that Gul means rose in Turkish, but that it is Rosa in Spanish and Rodanthe in Greek. Flowers named in the book include rose, heather, buttercup, sunflower, lily of the valley, daisy, bluebell, snowdrop, hyacinth, myrtle, camomile, cherry blossom, jasmine, violet, tulip, poppy. This can be used in the classroom to talk about culture, language and botany.

Brave Donatella and the Jasmine Thief

The jasmine plant was Duke Cosimo de Medicis most treasured possessionand he went to great pains to keep it all for himself. When the gardener Antonio clips a sprig of the forbidden jasmine for his love, he is sent to prison. Now brave Donatella, Antonios beloved, is his only hope for freedom. Antonio and Donatella flee the wrath of Duke Cosimo de Medici, and they use that rare plant to make a fresh start.


Sunflowers / Girasoles

After helping her grandfather plant squash, onions, carrots, cabbage, and other vegetables that her mother uses in soups and salsas, seven-year-old Marisol plants sunflower seeds in her neighbors’ yards, and weeks later, everyone gets to enjoy the fruits of Marisol’s labor.

”My name is Marisol. I’m seven years old. This spring, I helped my grandfather make a garden.” First, Marisol and her grandfather had to prepare the ground. They pulled out the old plants and weeds. They mixed up all the dirt ”to make it soft.” Then it was time to plant the seeds. They planted seeds to grow the vegetables Mama uses in soup squash, onions, carrots, and cabbage. They planted seeds to grow the things she needs to make salsa garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and chili peppers. They planted mint for Abuela’s tea. They planted watermelon seeds for Marisol and her brother. And for Grandad, they planted sunflower seeds because their ”big black eyes with long yellow eyelashes” make him happy. And he likes to eat the seeds! One day, Marisol’s grandfather gives her a small bag of sunflower seeds, but instead of eating them she plants them here and there one in the corner of Mrs. Sosa’s yard, another in Mr. Binh’s yard. In fact, as she walks to school, she plants seeds in the corners of all the yards she passes. And she plants the last three seeds in the playground at school. As the days pass, sometimes it’s rainy and sometimes it’s sunny. Finally, one bright day, Marisol’s sunflower surprise shines a bit of happiness all around. The tender relationship between grandparent and grandchild is illuminated in this children’s book by author Gwendolyn Zepeda with warm illustrations by Alisha Gambino. Children ages 3-7 will sow and reap ideas of their own about ways to share a little joy, just as Marisol does with sunflowers.

Max’s Magic Seeds

Max thinks school is boring, and his uncle Bill’s idea of livening things up doesn’t sound too exciting either. He gives Max a big bag of seeds for his birthday. At first Max is skeptical, but he follows his uncle’s instructions and scatters the seeds on his way to school. From that moment on, unusual things begin to happen, and the changes are simply magical. Wildflowers begin to grow throughout the city, where they’ve never been before. Suddenly Max becomes the most popular kid in school as his class gets to pick the flowers, draw them, and study them. This was the best gift, after all. Here is a lovely story about how small actions can make a big difference in your own life, and the life of an entire community.