Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 12
- Grade: 1 to 7
A middle-grade-friendly introduction to Pacific Northwest flora, with outdoor activities, games and quizzes that make learning about nature fun! Great for families and educators.
Get dirty digging up roots. Crouch down to look closely at a carnivorous sundew dissolving a dragonfly. Munch some lemony-tasting miner’s lettuce. Go on a scavenger hunt for some of nature’s more surprising creations, like the arbutus tree, a sculpture of living copper. Make a soothing plantain salve to treat an itch. Learn which berries you can eat and which to avoid.
Time spent outdoors encourages children’s self-confidence and independence, increases attention span and physical well-being, and fosters care for the environment. With the increasing intrusion of technology into daily life, and the challenges of climate chaos, it has never been more essential for parents and educators to encourage kids to engage with the natural environment. Plants are everywhere, even in urban areas where parks, empty lots and backyards offer the opportunity to learn from and connect to nature.
Drawing on her years of experience as a herbalist and outdoor educator, author Philippa Joly features more than fifty richly illustrated plant profiles, including information on identification and ecology, uses in Coastal Indigenous cultures, and fun activities—all in a way that is accessible and interesting to readers of all ages.
About the author
Philippa Joly is a clinical and community herbalist, paramedic and outdoor educator. She runs an outdoor school for kids and leads workshops on herbal medicine, plant identification, ethical wildcrafting, herbal first aid, local healing plants and anticolonial approaches to wellness. She lives on Denman Island, BC, with her plant-savvy daughter, Breah, and their grey cat.
- Long-listed, AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books
- Winner, Silver Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards
“This should be on every home school, forest school and school district list for the southern coastal Douglas-fir regions, and every adult should read it too. We need plant literacy more than we have ever needed it in the history of the planet. Our survival relies on it. Ever since ‘plant blindness’ entered our vocabulary as a health condition, there has been an urgent need to bring back engaging, regional guides to plants for kids. Plant blindness prohibits a kid's ability to observe plants, form relationships, maintain their mental health and connect the health of plants to solving the crises of our times— climate change, colonialism and the decline in biodiversity. Plant literacy makes healthy communities.”
Briony Penn, author of <i>A Year on the Wild Side </i>
“Philippa Joly combines her love for plants, art, and connecting to the natural world in this wonderful book. It’s a perfect companion for any parent, educator or kid who wants to know more about the plants around them and learn in fun and meaningful ways. It offers useful ID tips, stunning and detailed watercolours of each plant and different ways of connecting to each one. It will also test your newly honed skills with the fun quizzes inside!”
Jenna Rudolph, Founder and Executive Director of the Soaring Eagle Nature School
“This is an absolutely delightful book, dedicated to helping children and youth build relationships with the plants in their world. It is a rich compendium of plant portraits and descriptions, personal stories, recipes, games and hands-on activities—like making tea from Yerba Buena or making a root-digging stick of Oceanspray. Philippa’s obvious love of kids, plants and the natural world shines through—and it is catching!”
Nancy Turner, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, and author of <i>Plants of Haida Gwaii</i> and <i>The Earth’s Blanket<i>