Do you have a book worm at home? Check out the Spring Fest Reading List for books and online readings related to agriculture and natural resources.

Megan Gunn, recruitment and outreach specialist with Forestry and Natural Resources and aquatic education associate with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Sarah LaRose, assistant professor of Agricultural Education, and Jeff Sanson, executive director of the Indiana Council for Economic Education, shared their reading lists for children in Pre-K through high school.

Book Information:

Arthur's Pet Business

by Marc Brown

Reading Level 2.4

Summary:

To prove he is responsible enough to own a pet and to repay a debt of money to his sister, Arthur decides to start a pet business – providing pet care service to community members. He advertises by putting up signs around the neighborhood. Business is very good. Arthur not only earns a wage (from which he pays his debt) but also gains a pet when one of his “clients” has puppies under his bed.

Connection:

Ask kids, do you think it is more difficult being an entrepreneur or working for someone else? Why? Why do people want to be entrepreneurs?

Concepts: Profit, Human Resources, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand


Book Information:

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein

Reading Level 2.6

Summary:

This is a tender story about a tree and a boy. The tree loves the boy so much that it is willing to give the boy everything that it has (apples, shade, branches, and trunk). This story represents the ultimate sacrifice of love and the serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

Connection:

Discuss with kids things that are natural resources.

Ask them why are natural resources scarce?

Concepts: Economic Wants Human Resources, Price, Scarcity


Book Information:

Uncle Jed's Barbershop

by Margaree Mitchell

Reading Level 3.8

Summary:

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a heartwarming story about a barber who travels the countryside cutting poor folks’ hair. Uncle Jed has a kind heart and a giving spirit. He lives for the day that he can own his own barbershop. It takes a long time and many setbacks before his lifelong dream is fulfilled. This is a wonderful story that emphasizes the true spirit of sacrifice, love, and commitment to a dream.

Connection:

Ask kids, are we ever too old to fulfill our dreams? Uncle Jed was 79 years old when his dream came true. What are you dreams? What special good or service do you want to produce when you grow up? What education or special training (human capital) will you need to fulfill your dream?

Concepts: Specialization, Saving, Investing, Opportunity Cost  


Book Information:

To Market, To Market

by Anne Miranda

Reading Level 1.7

Summary:

This story, modeled after the familiar nursery rhyme about going to the market to buy a fat pig, illustrates the chaos that is created when the animals for purchase won’t cooperate. Cooking a meal of homemade soup turns into quite a chore with a change in the menu!

Connection:

Ask kids, why did the woman have to pay for the items she purchased at the store?
Discuss how these items/goods were scarce. All scarce goods have a price. In general, the scarcer a good or service is, the higher its price.

Concepts: Goods & Services, Producers, Consumers, Market


Book Information:

A Chair for My Mother

by Vera B. Williams

Reading Level 3.4

Summary:

When all of their possessions were burned in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother save all their extra money to buy a special chair. The characters make choices to save in order to obtain something important to them.

Connection:

Discuss with kids the difference between a producer and a consumer.

Concepts: Saving, Opportunity Cost, Human Resources, Consumers, Producers, Scarcity


Book Information:

Agatha's Feather Bed

by Carmen Deedy

Reading Level 3.5

Summary:

Agatha is disrupted by six cranky, cold, naked geese. They want to discuss the source of the feathers that are keeping her warm in her brand new feather bed. Agatha arrives at a solution and finally understands that:

“Everything comes from something,

Nothing comes from nothing.

Just like paper comes from trees,

And glass comes from sand,

An answer comes from a question.

All you have to do is ask.”

Connection:

Talk to your kids about productive resources that are needed to produce a good or a service? Discuss and consider how Capital resources, human resources, and natural resources are combined to produce goods and services.

Concepts: Natural Resources, Productive Resources, Capital Resources, Economic Wants, Goods & Services, Human Resources


Book Information:

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

by Judith Viorst

Reading Level 3.4

Summary:

Alexander had a dollar last Sunday, but he just can’t seem to hand on to it. Follow Alexander through the week as he makes many poor spending decisions, resulting in him not saving anything!

Connection:

Ask your kids, where do people often save their money?  Discuss reasons where and why people save their money.

In the story Alexander said, “Saving is hard.” Discuss why is saving hard for many people?  Saving requires the discipline to forgo current consumption in order to enjoy consumption later on.

Concepts: Saving, Economic Wants, Scarcity, Goods & Services, Income  


Book Information:

The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

Reading Level 3.1

Summary:

Find out what happens in this Dr. Seuss classic when the Once-ler begins chopping down Truffula Trees to make the wildly popular Thneeds! The results are rather grim but could they have been avoided?

Connection:

Ask your kids, why The Truffula Trees were scarce, valuable natural resources. What made them valuable and scarce?
(The trees had beautiful soft, tufts that were like silk.  They also had a sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.  They could be used to produce products.)

Concepts: Price, Scarcity, Productivity


Book Information:

Who Grew My Soup

by Tom Darbysire

Summary:

What’s that you say? You’re hungry?
Right this very minute?
Then you need a farmer.

Connection:

Here’s a video of the author reading it.

Additional information including a lesson plan with activities is available through National Ag in the Classroom.

Book Information:

Arthur's Pet Business

by Marc Brown

Reading Level 2.4

Summary:

To prove he is responsible enough to own a pet and to repay a debt of money to his sister, Arthur decides to start a pet business – providing pet care service to community members. He advertises by putting up signs around the neighborhood. Business is very good. Arthur not only earns a wage (from which he pays his debt) but also gains a pet when one of his “clients” has puppies under his bed.

Connection:

Ask kids, do you think it is more difficult being an entrepreneur or working for someone else? Why? Why do people want to be entrepreneurs?

Concepts: Profit, Human Resources, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand


Book Information:

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein

Reading Level 2.6

Summary:

This is a tender story about a tree and a boy. The tree loves the boy so much that it is willing to give the boy everything that it has (apples, shade, branches, and trunk). This story represents the ultimate sacrifice of love and the serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

Connection:

Discuss with kids things that are natural resources.

Ask them why are natural resources scarce?

Concepts: Economic Wants Human Resources, Price, Scarcity


Book Information:

Uncle Jed's Barbershop

by Margaree Mitchell

Reading Level 3.8

Summary:

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a heartwarming story about a barber who travels the countryside cutting poor folks’ hair. Uncle Jed has a kind heart and a giving spirit. He lives for the day that he can own his own barbershop. It takes a long time and many setbacks before his lifelong dream is fulfilled. This is a wonderful story that emphasizes the true spirit of sacrifice, love, and commitment to a dream.

Connection:

Ask kids, are we ever too old to fulfill our dreams? Uncle Jed was 79 years old when his dream came true. What are you dreams? What special good or service do you want to produce when you grow up? What education or special training (human capital) will you need to fulfill your dream?

Concepts: Specialization, Saving, Investing, Opportunity Cost


Book Information:

A Chair for My Mother

by Vera B. Williams

Reading Level 3.4

Summary:

When all of their possessions were burned in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother save all their extra money to buy a special chair. The characters make choices to save in order to obtain something important to them.

Connection:

Discuss with kids the difference between a producer and a consumer.

Concepts: Saving, Opportunity Cost, Human Resources, Consumers, Producers, Scarcity


Book Information:

Holes

by Louis Sachar

Reading Level 4.6

Summary:

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse begun by his “pig-stealing” great-great-grandfather years ago. Stanley finds himself in a detention camp for boys, where he was sent – unjustly- for stealing a pair of sneakers. Every day, each boy must learn character by digging a perfectly round hole – five feet wide and five feet deep – in the bottom of dried-up Camp Green Lake. Stanley soon realizes that the warden has other reasons besides character for digging the holes! But what could be buried under a dried-up lake?

Connection:

Ask kids what besides water, what is the other scarce item that was a major part of the story? (Clyde Livingston’s shoes). Explain why these shoes were scarce.  Discuss Clyde’s specialized skills. He was a star player – only one of a kind!

Concepts: Opportunity Cost, Natural Resources, Entrepreneur, Scarcity


Book Information:

The Lorax

by Dr. Seuss

Reading Level 3.1

Summary:

Find out what happens in this Dr. Seuss classic when the Once-ler begins chopping down Truffula Trees to make the wildly popular Thneeds! The results are rather grim but could they have been avoided?

Connection:

Ask your kids, why The Truffula Trees were scarce, valuable natural resources. What made them valuable and scarce?
(The trees had beautiful soft, tufts that were like silk.  They also had a sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.  They could be used to produce products.)

Concepts: Price, Scarcity, Productivity


Book Information:

Lawn Boy

by Gary Paulsen

Reading Level 4.3

Summary:

Duane is a typical 12 year old boy, it’s the dawn of a summer vacation and he’s broke.  One day his Grandmother gives him an old riding mower that belonged to his now deceased Grandfather.  He sets out to mow some lawns to pay for bicycle repairs.  One client introduces him to the beauty of capitalism and while the grass grows so does his business.  He invests his money in the stock market and as the sponsor of a prizefighter.  Duane’s summer really gets interesting as he turns grass into cash while learning fundamental market lessons.

Connection:

Ask kids if they have ever heard the phrase, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”?  What did Duane have to give up in order to operate his business.

Concepts: Profit, Scarcity, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand 


Book Information:

The Toothpaste Millionaire

by Jean Merrill

Reading Level 5

Summary:

Unhappy about the high cost of toothpaste, Rufus decides to become an entrepreneur and set up his own toothpaste business.

Connection:

Talk with kids about ways Rufus could market his product and how the ads could reflect his target audience.  What other ways beyond, print or media are available today that Rufus could also use?

Concepts: Profit, Market, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand 


Book Information:

Lunch Money

by Andrew Clements

Reading Level 5.2

Summary:

Greg is a sixth grader with a love for money. He had his first lemonade stand in second grade and is always looking for new ways to make money. Greg recently discovered that most students bring extra money to school each day, so he has decided it’s the best place to make his fortune.

Connection:

Discuss with kids why Greg had business competition from Mura, who made and sold beautiful pot holders to the neighbors.  When she sold to Greg’s mom, she raised her price from $2 to $3.  Why was she able to do that?

(She only had a limited supply of potholders left and the demand was high because people really liked them.  She could charge “what the market would bear.”)

Concepts: Profit, Investing, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand


Book Information:

Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming

by Lisl H Detlefsen

Reading Level

Summary:

What’s that you say? You’re hungry?
Right this very minute?
Then you need a farmer.

You have the stories, the knowledge, the hard work, the pride, and the dedication of so many right here on your table, in your hands, in your lunchbox, on your plate, and on your fork. Award-winners Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renée Kurilla’s delicious celebration of food and farming is sure to inspire readers of all ages to learn more about where their food comes from—right this very minute!

Connection:

Are you looking to learn more about farmers and where food comes from? For more information visit this site


Book Information:

Who Grew My Soup

by Tom Darbysire

Summary:

What’s that you say? You’re hungry?
Right this very minute?
Then you need a farmer.

Connection:

Here’s a link to a video of the author reading it.

Additional information including a lesson plan with activities is available through National Ag in the Classroom. 

Book Information:

Holes

by Louis Sachar

Reading Level 4.6

Summary:

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse begun by his “pig-stealing” great-great-grandfather years ago. Stanley finds himself in a detention camp for boys, where he was sent – unjustly- for stealing a pair of sneakers. Every day, each boy must learn character by digging a perfectly round hole – five feet wide and five feet deep – in the bottom of dried-up Camp Green Lake. Stanley soon realizes that the warden has other reasons besides character for digging the holes! But what could be buried under a dried-up lake?

Connection:

Ask kids what besides water, what is the other scarce item that was a major part of the story? (Clyde Livingston’s shoes). Explain why these shoes were scarce.  Discuss Clyde’s specialized skills. He was a star player – only one of a kind!

Concepts: Opportunity Cost, Natural Resources, Entrepreneur, Scarcity


Book Information:

Lawn Boy

by Gary Paulsen

Reading Level 4.3

Summary:

Duane is a typical 12 year old boy, it’s the dawn of a summer vacation and he’s broke.  One day his Grandmother gives him an old riding mower that belonged to his now deceased Grandfather.  He sets out to mow some lawns to pay for bicycle repairs.  One client introduces him to the beauty of capitalism and while the grass grows so does his business.  He invests his money in the stock market and as the sponsor of a prizefighter.  Duane’s summer really gets interesting as he turns grass into cash while learning fundamental market lessons.

Connection:

Ask kids if they have ever heard the phrase, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”?  What did Duane have to give up in order to operate his business.

Concepts: Profit, Scarcity, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand 


Book Information:

The Toothpaste Millionaire

by Jean Merrill

Reading Level 5

Summary:

Unhappy about the high cost of toothpaste, Rufus decides to become an entrepreneur and set up his own toothpaste business.

Connection:

Talk with kids about ways Rufus could market his product and how the ads could reflect his target audience.  What other ways beyond, print or media are available today that Rufus could also use?

Concepts: Profit, Market, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand


Book Information:

Lunch Money

by Andrew Clements

Reading Level 5.2

Summary:

Greg is a sixth grader with a love for money. He had his first lemonade stand in second grade and is always looking for new ways to make money. Greg recently discovered that most students bring extra money to school each day, so he has decided it’s the best place to make his fortune.

Connection:

Discuss with kids why Greg had business competition from Mura, who made and sold beautiful pot holders to the neighbors.  When she sold to Greg’s mom, she raised her price from $2 to $3.  Why was she able to do that?

(She only had a limited supply of potholders left and the demand was high because people really liked them.  She could charge “what the market would bear.”)

Concepts: Profit, Investing, Entrepreneur, Supply & Demand 


Book Information:

Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming

by Lisl H Detlefsen

Reading Level

Summary:

What’s that you say? You’re hungry?
Right this very minute?
Then you need a farmer.

You have the stories, the knowledge, the hard work, the pride, and the dedication of so many right here on your table, in your hands, in your lunchbox, on your plate, and on your fork. Award-winners Lisl H. Detlefsen and Renée Kurilla’s delicious celebration of food and farming is sure to inspire readers of all ages to learn more about where their food comes from—right this very minute!

Connection:

Are you looking to learn more about farmers and where food comes from? Find more information.


Book Information:

Who Grew My Soup

by Tom Darbysire

Summary:

What’s that you say? You’re hungry?
Right this very minute?
Then you need a farmer.

Connection:

Here’s a link to a video of the author reading it

Additional information including a lesson plan with activities is available through National Ag in the Classroom.

Book Information:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver

Summary:

A non-fiction book by Barbara Kingsolver detailing her family's attempt to eat only locally grown food for an entire year.

Connection:

Additional information including a farm tour and recipes can be found at Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver


Book Information:

The Earth Knows my Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans

by Patricia Klindienst

Summary:

Patricia Klindienst crossed the country to write this book, inspired by a torn and faded photograph that shed new light on the story of her Italian immigrant family's struggle to adapt to America. She gathered the stories of urban, suburban, and rural gardens created by people rarely presented in books about American gardens: Native Americans, immigrants from across Asia and Europe, and ethnic peoples who were here long before our national boundaries were drawn—including Hispanics of the Southwest, whose ancestors followed the Conquistadors into the Rio Grande Valley, and Gullah gardeners of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, descendants of African slaves.

As we lose our connection to the soil, we no longer understand the relationship between food and a sense of belonging to a place and a people. In The Earth Knows My Name, Klindienst offers a lyrical exploration of how the making of gardens and the growing of food help ethnic and immigrant Americans maintain and transmit their cultural heritage while they put roots down in American soil. Through their work on the land, these gardeners revive cultures in danger of being lost. Through the vegetables, fruits, and flowers they produce, they share their culture with their larger communities. And in their reverent use of natural resources they keep alive a relationship to the land all but lost to mainstream American culture.


Book Information:

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

by Dan Egan

Reading Level

Summary:

The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.

Connection:

A short video description of the book can be found at The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan - YouTube.

Enviro-Time Storytime: Pk-12th

Summary:

The 1st edition of the “Enviro-Time Storytime Recommended Reading Lists” is designed to connect young people to the Great Lakes. The list contains a series of readings, activities and read-alouds to engage readers.

Some of the topics you’ll find in this reading list are: diversity in coastal sciences, environmental activism for kids, sustainability for kids, and Sturgeon Conservation and Great Lakes Stewardship. Plus, there’s a graphic organizer to help the readers make personal connections to the stories.

Connection:

To access all of this great information, follow this link to learn more.