Summer Read-to-Learn

Welcome to Summer Read-to-Learn! All summer, I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them something new to learn about. Most of the time, these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn from fictional stories too. Summer is a great time for kids to read and learn about topics they choose to be excited about.

I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and the tags. There will be books from some of my favorite publishers like Feeding Minds Press, Chronicle Kids, Twirl, Templar Books, Candlewick Press, and others as well as books on all kinds of topics kids love to read and learn about. Be sure to stop by each week to see what book I’m sharing as part of my Summer Read-to-Learn series.

To see all the books in the Summer Read-to-Learn series, click HERE.

The Soil in Jackie's Garden


By: Peggy Thomas

Illustrated by: Neely Daggett

Published: May 29, 2024

Publisher: Feeding Minds Press

The best way to get kids excited about a garden is to get them involved in caring for the garden. With a repetitive and rhythmic storyline, much like THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY, kids will quickly be able to read along with you. Soon your child will remember all the essential parts of a thriving and growing garden.

Along with the story about planting the garden and repeating the fun sounds like squirm and bizz-y, kids will also learn about the gardening process. They will learn why worms are so important, the process of photosynthesis, and composting. These are all integral parts of growing a thriving garden.

The Soil in Jackie's Garden page

The illustrations show the science of gardening as well as kids working together and having fun. There is a diverse group of kids including a child with a physical disability showing that everyone can contribute to helping in the garden. Jackie’s garden is located in a community garden, not just in a backyard which will inspire kids who live in areas where a backyard garden isn’t possible to find a common space to start one for their neighborhood.

These are the leaves, shiny and green,

that sprout from stems, long and lean,

fed by the roots, rarely seen,

that drink the water

that wakes the seeds

that wait with the worms–squirm!

that stir the soil in Jackie’s garden.

The most unique feature of the book is that it opens from the top rather than from the side. So, the illustrations cover a whole page-spread from top to bottom with the story on the top and the science of gardening on the bottom. The end of the book includes a more in-depth lesson on The Soil Cycle including flowcharts, illustrations, and descriptions.

Peggy Thomas is the author of more than twenty award-winning nonfiction books for children including Hero For the Hungry: The Life and Work of Norman Borlaug, illustrated by Sam Kalda, and Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, which earned the AFBFA 2020 Book of the Year Award. When not in her garden, Peggy is most likely speaking with students about sustainability and food security or researching her next true story. Learn more about Peggy at

Don’t miss Peggy Thomas’ middle-grade biography, HERO FOR THE HUNGRY, about Iowan Norman Borlaug.

Neely Daggett lives with her husband and three children in tree-filled Portland, Oregon. Making picture books is her passion, but Neely also loves to work in her garden, take her dog Luna on long walks, and visit the Oregon coast with her family. You can find more of Neely’s work at

Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The mission of the Foundation is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. The goal of Feeding Minds Press is to publish accurate and engaging books about agriculture that connect readers to where their food comes from and who grows it. Learn more at

To purchase a copy of THE SOIL IN JACKIE’S GARDEN, click HERE.

Don’t miss Peggy Thomas’ middle-grade biography, HERO FOR THE HUNGRY, about Iowan Norman Borlaug.

Other posts you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Check out my review policy, HERE.

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