Picture Books for Growing Minds

Home is Calling:
The Journey of the Monarch Butterfly

Winner: 2024 SCBWI Charlotte and Wilbur Award for Compassion for Animals Award

2024 NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts Award

Join the monarchs as they embark on a transcontinental journey home in this moving story about migration.

As the sun dawns in Canada, a flutter of monarch butterflies take flight, ready to begin their months-long journey to their ancestral home in Mexico. The migration will not be easy, but it is necessary for the next generation of monarchs to be born. Brought to life with illustrations as vivid as the monarch’s iconic orange and black hues, this story invites young readers to experience the monarch’s migration from the butterflies’ point of view as they search for food, huddle together through storms, and tirelessly fly south.

Parents and educators alike will find much to love about this poetically written book. The story touches on how climate change and deforestation are impacting monarchs, and kid-friendly back matter provides additional information about the butterflies, including their life cycle, anatomy, and migratory patterns, as well as several simple ways children can help monarch butterflies themselves.

Praise for Home is Calling:

"Swirling, twirling orange-and-black butterflies fill the pages of this informative yet lyrical book....A good springboard for further research into monarch migration."

—Kirkus Reviews

Spring Is For Strawberries

When a farm family brings their spring crops to a city farmers market, the farmers’ daughter befriends the daughter of a neighborhood family doing their weekly shopping. Over the course of a year, the girls explore the bounty of each season. Sweet spring strawberries and crisp, fresh greens make way for corn on the cob, peppers, and a rainbow of tomatoes. Fall brings pumpkin patches and the crunch of apples. The friends part at the final winter market, already looking forward to the sweet red strawberries that will unite them again next spring.

Katherine Pryor’s lyrical celebration of seasonal local foods is brought to life by Polina Gortman’s portrait of a growing friendship between two children from seemingly different worlds. Spring Is For Strawberries reminds us to seek pleasure in the changing harvests around us, and that all things—even friendships—have seasons worth waiting for.

Praise for Spring Is For Strawberries:

“A delightful blend of friendship, fresh food, melodious language, and luscious illustrations.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Katherine Pryor has a track record of helping kids learn about food through joyful exploration, and her new book lives up to her best. It's a berry sweet story to accompany a day spent at your local farmers market."

—Amber Stott, CEO & Founder, Food Literacy Center

“This beautifully illustrated book introduces kids to the delight of anticipation, the beauty of seasonal eating, and the friendships and flavors that come along with this kind of Slow Food.”

—Anna Mulè, Executive Director, Slow Food USA

“A wonderful homage to local farmer’s markets and the delicious food found there!”

—Rick Swann, author, Our School Garden!

"A family farm and a city farmer’s market are the backdrops for a journey through the seasons—and the stages of a new friendship—in this thoughtful look at nature’s bounty."

—Publishers Weekly

Bea's Bees

Beatrix discovers a wild bumblebee nest on her way home from school and finds herself drawn to their busy world. When her bees mysteriously disappear, Bea hatches a plan to bring them back. Can Bea inspire her school and community to save the bees?

Author Katherine Pryor and illustrator Ellie Peterson have created a hopeful tale of persistence and resilience to inspire future conservationists. A perfect companion to home or school pollinator gardens, Bea's Bees encourages kids to help protect bees and other pollinators.

Praise for Bea's Bees:

"This informational picture book is a necessary addition to elementary library shelves as an important contribution to the understanding and
conservation of bees."

—School Library Journal

“A beautifully illustrated story of the invaluable connections between people and planet. Beatrix shows us all the value of purpose, perseverance, and our humble friend, the bee.”

—Tami Enright, Executive Director, The Bee Cause Project

"Delightful, educational, and uplifting! This book is an absolute treasure, and I would recommend it to any parent, teacher, or school garden educator.”

—Whitney Cohen, Education Director, Life Lab

“The perfect book for budding scientists.”

—Rick Swann, author, Our School Garden!

Zora's Zucchini

Winner: 2016 Growing Good Kids Book Award

The first zucchini of a summer garden is always exciting, but what happens when the plants just keep growing...and growing...and growing? Zora soon finds herself with more zucchini than her family can bake, sauté, or barbecue. Fortunately the ever-resourceful girl comes up with the perfect plan—a garden swap!

Author Katherine Pryor and artist Anna Raff tell the playful story of a child who discovers the wonder of growing food and the joy of growing a community.

Available in Spanish and as an audio book.

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Praise for Zora's Zucchini:

“A fun and accessible title that lends itself to discussion of gardening, nutrition, and problem‑solving.”

—School Library Journal



"Full of the kinds of quiet details that make children return to a book again and again...Zora's Zucchini satisfies every appetite with its clean, happy storyline and whimsical illustrations."

—Shelf Awareness

"What a delight! With whimsy, color, and even a few touches of hilarity, Zora’s Zucchini will surely inspire you to get planting. It captures the wonder of a first garden, the bounty of summer, and the promise of fresh vegetables....A reminder that good food is all about community.”

—Ian Cheney, Co-Founder, FoodCorps

"We’ll never make headway with the pressing environmental issues of our time--such as climate change, community-building and food waste--without brilliant, fun little books like Zora’s Zucchini."

—Tom Watson, "EcoConsumer," KOMO4 TV (Seattle)

Sylvia's Spinach

Over 100,000 copies in print!

Sylvia Spivens always said 'no' to spinach. But one day, Sylvia's teacher gives her a packet of spinach seeds to plant for a school garden. In the garden, Sylvia discovers the joy of growing food from the ground up and the pleasure of trying something new.

Parents will identify with the challenge of feeding healthy food to a picky eater, and educators will understand the magic and rewards of school gardens. Best of all, young readers will celebrate Sylvia's strong will, curiosity, and, maybe, her love of spinach.

Available in Spanish and as an audiobook.

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Praise for Sylvia's Spinach:

"Pryor's lesson about healthy eating and trying new things is delivered with a light touch thanks to Raff's airy ink washes."

—Publisher's Weekly

"Every child can identify with [Sylvia] as she tastes a new food for the first time... Readers will have fun getting to know Sylvia, and will eagerly join in a discussion of eating habits."

—Children's Literature Comprehensive Database

"Adults and children are sure to see familiar expression and recognize Sylvia's objections in the easy language and playful illustrations of Sylvia's Spinach."

—Reading Rocket