Cover Image: We Are the Gardeners

We Are the Gardeners

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Member Reviews

Lovely book. I didn't expect to like it so much. I love how it show failures and perseverance in growing their garden. I also enjoyed the connection to their growing family. Kids will connect with both.
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We are the Gardeners is a sweet little story, perfect for introducing and getting young children interested in gardening. The illustrations are beautiful. I can't wait to share this book with my son once he gets a little older.
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Really wasn't a fan of this one, it's cute, albeit kinda generic illustrations. For storytime 3-5 it's wayyyy too wordy. Great as an educational tool, not so much as a fun story for kids. I found it a little try-hard overall.
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I had a rough weekend in the garden. I’d been planning a strategy since Fall and just finally started seeing my seeds sprouting in the greenhouse. Unfortunately, most of Middle Tennessee was under a wind advisory for the next 24 hours. I was inside the greenhouse when a major gust of wind came hurling against every solid object it could find. It became so windy, the above-ground pool lifted up and flew against the house.

It wasn't even ten minutes after sharing my excitement about my sprouts, the greenhouse starts crushing in on me. All of my seeds tipped over and spilled to the ground as I tried to hold the roof up while the metal bent. It felt like I was trapped in a tornado! After I got out, I just stood there in shock. My beautiful greenhouse and all of my plants were destroyed, and this wasn’t long after losing most of my childhood in the recent flood. I wasn't ready for another disappointment.

To cheer me up, my partner surprised me with Joanna Gaines' new book, We Are the Gardeners. It had recently come across my desk (I was anticipating it), but I hadn’t gotten a chance to read it yet. I read through my gift copy and I can’t even tell you how much it encouraged me when I really needed it.

We Are the Gardeners tells the story of America's most beloved family's adventures in learning how to garden. Like most of us, it all began with a small house plant. In the case of the Gaines family, a fern that soon met its demise after being over-watered and overexposed to sunlight. Eventually, they bought a new fern and expanded to several houseplants (can't we all relate?) which inevitably inspired the beginnings of an outside garden.

As you journey with the Gaines children through their disappointments and lessons-learned, you are encouraged not to give up when you hit a snag in your plans.

"We debated if we should just give up. Was it really worth it to start all over again? Then we remembered one very important detail:
It was our responsibility not only to grow this garden but also to protect it" (Gaines 35).

It’s just a children’s picture book, but even at 31 years old it inspired me when I felt really bummed about my garden dreams being crushed. The message is sweet and inspiring for all ages.

In addition to the message, this is a beautiful book. Julianna Swaney's folk-style botanical designs are the perfect ornament to the narrative, making this an ideal gift book for aspiring gardeners.

We Are the Gardeners could not have landed in my hands at a more opportune time. I feel it will hold special meaning for me for years to come, especially as I rebirth my garden and watch it grow. I fell in love with it so much, I decided to read it for storytime the next day accompanied with DIY mini-greenhouses complete with flower seeds! My library families loved it.
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3 Amazing Picture Books That Delight and Educate 
It is springtime and it is time to think about getting your kids outside. One of our favorite kid activities each year is to garden together. Some years we grow sunflower playhouses, some years we plant a salad garden, and some years it is just flowers and berries. But no matter what, getting out with your kids into the dirt can be so wonderful.

This delightful picture book tells the story of one family who begins their gardening adventure with a small, wilted fern, and end up with a big, beautiful garden in their yard. Everyone helps, from little to big, as they plan and purchase and plant.

The illustrations are so sweet and gentle that every single member of your family, no matter how old, will love to watch as you read this picture book aloud. And when the book is done? Well, then your kids will know how to plan the garden plots and watch for earthworm ‘secret agents’. Together you can get out into your yard and grow!
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The information in this sweet book has given me faith that I might be able to raise a plant from seed.
I hope to share this book with littles who will also try their best at gardening.
The best part of this book (to me) is the fact that they did a little research and learned something because of their desire to do more.  
We are blessed that they are to be able spend time outside and share their findings with others.
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Imagine for a minute what it would be like growing up in the Gaines household. Your parents do great work with their hands, whether it is remodeling a home or working the ground. As a child, you are brought up surrounded by hard work, done by people with a passion for what they do. Written by kids, and Jo, for kids, We Are the Gardeners weaves a story, life lessons, and growing up as a Gaines child all into one.

The book opens with the Gaines children sharing about the first fern their dad bought their mom, which is how their first garden began. It was fun as an adult reading the book, getting the childlike perspective of not just a story, but the story of their parents.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the actual story. In addition to sharing about their first garden, they share about hard work and sticking with something, even when things don't go as planned. I think these lessons are important to teach children and great reminders for adults as well.

I always believe that illustrations can make or break a children's book and I found the illustrations in this book to help bring the story to life even more. As I finished reading this book I was ready to go outside and plant a garden. This book reminded me not only of the lessons that can be learned from the hard work of gardening but the excitement and fun gardening can be.

Jo and the kids did a great job weaving together an educational, yet engaging story that was fun for a fan to read, yet relatable to children at the same time. I can't wait to see what children's title they come up with next!
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A very interesting and informative book that young readers would particularly be attracted to due to the vibrant colors and solid information.
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The Gaines family shares their trials and errors in starting a family gardening.  A great message about perseverance and the rewards or gardening.  The illustrations were just as beautiful as the message.
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This book was everything that I expected. Joanna and family has done it again!!! This book is absolutely adorable! The story is well written, with great values and lessons to live by. The illustrations are whimsical, lovely and yes, shiplap included.
This book will be on my gifts to give list!! It will be enjoyed by both little and big hands.
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This is a fantastic book that shows the beauty of a garden but also the failures that lead to that beautiful garden. It is great to use during Spring to teach growth mindset and the hardships that occur leading up to success.
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We are the Gardeners is a great story of kids starting a garden and making it grow with their family. I really liked the colourful illustrations and the easy-to-read text from the story. The only thing I did not really like is how some bugs are treated as "bad" and some plants as "weeds". We are trying nowadays to explain there is not good or bad plant but only diversity and every organism has its role to play in nature and therefore in the garden.
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Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. And some of them often have poignant garden story behind them. We Are The Gardeners digs in one such delightful tale…

Sometimes big stories start in a small way. The garden story of this family begins with a little plant that grows on the windowsill. The plant, bought by the father, becomes the focus of attention. Four little children visit the plant on the sunny windowsill and learn to care for it, water it and even whisper to it. The beginnings of this relationship with a small plant spirals into something bigger and more substantial. 

The wonderful lesson of patience comes to them, as does the concept of trial and error. When the children love their plant to death, though zealous overwatering, they are disappointed. They soon learn that each plant is different and most plants have good manners and they ‘like to sip, not gulp’ water. The lessons about the science of growing plants is woven into the story which also talks about the sheer magic of growing a garden. 

As their garden graduates from the window sill and spills over to the open space outside, the children have more ambitious plans. But then they share the garden with the world of insects and birds who do their own bit. Slowly, things fit into this humming hive of activity. And, not everything is well all the time. They have to deal with the ‘bullies’ in the garden, aka the weeds. And, they need to handle seemingly innocent animals who love to have more than a fair share of helping from the produce! 

Gardens provide a lot of fruit- not only literally but also figuratively. The children experience collaborating with each other as a family to grow the garden as a team. They learn many of life’s lesson right in the middle of their own garden by the mere act of gardening and being a gardener! 

The appealing language which explains the eternal lessons that gardening brings to us is most apt and delightful for children. The illustrations complement the text beautifully, adding fun and poignancy to the journey that the child-reader undertakes with the book. I think this is a book that brings the pleasures of gardening into the mind and heart of the reader. Well, you may soon start to grow your own garden story!
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We Are The Gardeners by Joanna Gaines & Kids

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Story Notes

Design and home makeover expert Joanna Gaines presents a wonderful story about the importance of not giving up in the face of failure.

Joanna and Chip Gaines have become household names all over the US and the world. From their beautiful home makeovers to their creative companies to their fun Silo store, their love of making the world more welcoming and lovely spills over into the lives of those around them. Joanna has also ventured into the world of writing with this well written and well developed story about never giving up. Told from the perspective of her children, Ms. Gaines tells the real-life story of how they became a gardening family. From their first fern to the large gardens they now care for, there were challenges and set backs that gave the children a choice: do we give up or do we try again to make it better? I loved the quote from Chip Gaines ” Every hard thing we choose to do makes us braver for the next time.” Truly this is a lesson that many of us need to learn and remember. Failure does not mean the end but a chance to start over with another idea – think Thomas Edison and the light bulb. I loved the cute story, especially that it included some complicated words that were explained to help expand a child’s vocabulary. Often authors stick with simple words, forgetting that a child can learn harder words if they are explained. I’m glad to see that Ms. Gaines included the “tough” words to inspire children to learn more than the story itself. The illustrations of this book by Julianna Swaney must be mentioned as they were so very beautiful. The colors used were bright but soothing and will certainly make children want to re-read this book often. And while most were very realistic, there were some that were drawn overly large to prove a point – this was a very clever idea. I will certainly be recommending and sharing this book with others as it is truly delightful to read. I will also be adding a physical copy of this book to my collection very soon. Well done, Joanna and Julianna!

I received this E-book free of charge from Tommy Nelson/Thomas Nelson Children via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
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The bright, inviting illustrations and the clearly written text detail how a well-known family begins a garden and overcomes some problems along the way. A friendly book with a good message.
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As a teacher I couldn't wait to add this book to my classroom library. In today's society I feel that kids don't play outside enough and I truly believe in the importance of play and getting children to spend time outdoors. This book is adorable. The illustrations are sweet and the lessons of the book pertain to all children. This book will be read over and over in class especially during the spring season and during our gardening unit!
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This is such a sweet book and I am a big fan of the Gaines family! I read this with my children and will be reading it for years to come :) Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!
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I loved the artwork and how it explains all about gardening to children. It was very enjoyable to read (as an adult) and I was learning as well as my kids. Makes us want to start our garden!
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This adorable children's book will be a favorite for children and adults. The illustrations are colorfully captivating and the details of each page are fun  to pour over to find all the treasures placed on each page. I was happily surprised that this wasn't a typical children's book with a couple words here and there on each page. The writing is dense and has deeper meaning. And although the gardening aspect of the book isn't a how to this books teaches about perseverance and never giving up no matter the set backs. I was so excited to be able to receive this book through NetGalley when I realized that Joanna had added to her list of talents. Her tone and words and I could hear her voice as I read. My kids will love this book for years to come.
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On the surface this is a beautifully illustrated story of a family that teaches about important aspects of taking care of plants. This surface story presents wonderful facts about how to care for plants, the realities of overwatering or the dangers of certain bugs in your garden. When I was a little girl I was obsessed with the Klutz Gardening Book; I think I would have loved this book as well for the facts it presents. 

However, just under this adorable surface story is a really sweet story about overcoming failure and keeping the hope. Their first plant was loved to death. As an adult who is new to gardening I can totally understand this sentiment. But instead of becoming discouraged, they used their failure as a lesson to teach them on how to get better. When the goats and other animals got into the garden and wrecked havoc they didn't give up because it got hard. Instead these precious gardeners solved the problem and started again. 

There are many precious books about gardening and lots about keeping the hope and not being discouraged. But I can't think of another title that combines them and in such a beautiful way. This is the perfect book for any of your young friends who enjoy plants and gardening (or even for young friends with parents who are fans of Chip and Joanna). 

I can't finish this review without making note of the beautiful illustrations. Digital illustrations are so common place now that it was refreshing to have these beautiful watercolor pictures for this story. Anything else would have fallen flat, these accompany the tone and sentiment of the story perfectly.
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