“Our children no longer learn how to read the great Book of Nature from their own direct experience or how to interact creatively with the seasonal transformations of the planet. They seldom learn where their water comes from or where it goes. We no longer coordinate our human celebration with the great liturgy of the heavens.”
– Wendell Berry
Brrr! Days like this I am envious of those living in warmer climates! Snow is fluttering outside my window and the fire has not yet reached my office to warm it. It’s hard to push the kids outside when it’s cold and gloomy; the sun hasn’t been able to make an appearance from behind the thick layer of clouds in the sky.
This is the time to crack open the herb books for a snuggle by the fire! Here is a list of some of my kids’ favorite herb stories.
My younger kids like to listen to these stories and practice their reading skills with them:
Wildflower Tea by Ethel Pochocki and Roger Essley
“He brewed his tea in a blue china pot, poured it into a chipped white cup with forget-me-nots on the handle, and dropped in a dollop of honey and cream. He sat by the window, cup in hand, watching the first snow fall. “I am,” he sighed deeply, “contented as a clam. I am a most happy man.”
A sweet tale of a man gathering his herbs by summer and making teas from them by winter.
The Herbalist of Yarrow: A Fairy Tale of Plant Wisdom by Shatoiya de la Tour
The story of a little girl who listens to the plants and learns their healing powers. When the king’s evil wizards try to bring in more powerful medicine, the people learn the plants are still the best answer.
Song of the Seven Herbs by Walking Night Bear and Stan Padilla
This book has seven stories about seven common herbs using spiritual allegories to teach us to be caretakers of Mother Earth.
I’m a Medicine Woman Too! by Jesse Wolf Hardin
A great book about empowerment and not letting your age get in the way of your dreams.
Little Green Hiking Hood by Nina Judith Katz
This book is currently available as an ebook only but is a sweet little gem. We are waiting on the arrival of her other book, Yana Listens to arrive in the mail.
The Dandelion’s Cousin by Gertrude Teutsch
This sweet book is all about Sow Thistle. This book is beautifully written and illustrated.
“I have always loved plants. Seeing this despised weed develop so many different forms intrigued me as an artist. Nature is a wonderful teacher!” -Gertrude Teutsch
Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers by Susan Leopold
This is a brand new book that we haven’t gotten to read yet but I just saw it at the AHG Symposium last weekend and it’s going to be a hit when we get a copy of it!
My kids who are strong readers enjoy these books for their own reading pleasure but they also make great read alouds to the younger crowd:
Falling In by Frances O’Roark Dowell
Isabelle Bean gets sent to the principal’s office for not paying attention in class due to a buzzing sound that only she can hear. She tumbles into another world that is very different than her own and finds herself drawn to the healing plants while being accused of being a witch due to the way she’s dressed.
Janna Mysteries Series by Felicity Pulman
There are 6 books in this series: Rosemary for Remembrance, Rue for Repentance, Lilies for Love, Willows for Weeping, Sage for Sanctuary and Thyme for Trust. This series will have any book loving kid on the edge of their seat as they read about young Janna living in a tiny cottage on the edge of the forest with her mother Eadgyth, the village herbwife.
And of course, I always manage to squeeze in a few of my own stories from Herbal Roots zine ebooks! This is the perfect time to dust off those ebooks, read the stories and sing the songs that are in each issue to have a quick refresher of all the herbs they’ve learned about in the past.
What are your favorite herbal stories for reading by the fire? Do your kids have favorites that they return to over and over again?