There’s so much kids can learn from working a garden plot—science, focus, empathy, and that skill we never stop struggling with, patience. These 15 beautiful books will set the tone and have your little ones raring to get out and get dirty; dig through the slideshow to see them all.

The Ugly Vegetables

Age: 4-8

A young girl looks longingly at the flower-filled suburban gardens around her. In her own yard, her mother grows dark, spiny, ugly vegetables with foreign Chinese names. But when her mother cooks a soup so delicious-smelling that all the neighbors come around to join the feast, the girl sees the garden in a new light. The following year, neighbors are planting Chinese vegetables, and the girl’s mother decides to throw some flowers in among her produce. A story for our times, in more ways than one.

Available at charlesbridge.com, $7.95.

What’s your favorite book about gardening? Share with us in a comment below!

—Emma Bland Smith