Beyond the Fence: Discovering the Secrets of ‘The Garden Next Door’

The Garden Next Door Cover Page with children playing in a gardenOn a warm summer afternoon, three curious children find themselves drawn to the vibrant life buzzing in their neighbor’s garden. Birds chirp, bees hum, and butterflies dance, creating a symphony of colors and sounds just beyond their fence. Yet, their own yard sits quiet and still, devoid of the wonderful creatures that grace their neighbor’s haven.

Intrigued by the stark contrast, the children set out to uncover the secrets of their neighbor’s garden and ultimately end up bringing a touch of wilderness to their own backyard. Authored by Collin Pine and brought to life by Tiffany Everett‘s captivating illustrations, The Garden Next Door is more than just a story—it’s an invitation to explore the wonders of nature right outside our windows. Available at UF/IFAS Bookstore, it’s a perfect addition to any child’s library.

Transforming Backyards

Through the eyes of the children in the story, young readers are introduced to the fascinating world of wild gardens, pollinators, and, in a subtle way, to the importance of nature conservation. With simple yet impactful changes, the children learn how to transform their yard into a havenChildren in a backyard on top of a trampoline, looking at a hummingbird flying overhead for wildlife, from planting native flowers to creating habitats for insects and animals.

The Garden Next Door is a gateway to sparking curiosity and fostering a love for the natural world in young minds. Perfect for story time at the library, the classroom, or as a bedtime read, this beautifully illustrated tale inspires children to appreciate and interact with the environment around them.

Educators and parents alike will appreciate this book for its potential role in introducing environmental awareness, highlighting its ability to introduce complex concepts in a fun and engaging way. From the delicate balance of ecosystems to the role of native plants in supporting wildlife, The Garden Next Door plants the seed to empower children to become stewards of the earth.

Children exploring the lush garden in their neighbors backyardThe Power of Small Actions

But perhaps the most poignant aspect of the book is its subtle yet powerful message—that even the smallest actions can have a lasting impact on those around us. As the children peer into their neighbor’s garden, they begin to understand the profound effect of seemingly insignificant gestures. Unbeknownst to their neighbor, her actions are observed by curious onlookers, reminding us all that our influence extends beyond what we may realize.

With its scientifically accurate details and gentle storytelling, The Garden Next Door serves as a reminder that even the smallest actions can make a big difference for the creatures we share our world with. As children immerse themselves in the pages of this beautiful tale, they discover the magic that lies just beyond their own doorstep—and the power they hold to protect it.

Order your copy today at the UF/IFAS Bookstore.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!

Reading age: Young children (K-2), Print length: 32 pages, Languages available: English, Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.5 x 11.5 inches, Publisher: River Horse Books


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Posted: April 2, 2024

Category: , UF/IFAS Communications, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Children's Books, Collin Pine, Florida 4-H, Florida Master Gardener Volunteers, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Garden Stories, Pollinators, Rolando Negron, Storytime, Tiffany Everett, UF/IFAS Bookstore, Urban Gardens, Wildflowers

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