Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Apr 22, 2024 / 0 comments

I've got the CUTEST book to share with you and your small ones today, apropos as it is Earth Day. It will inspire and educate kids and their grownups about how to compost, garden, and reap the rewards of gardening. The Soil in Jackie's Garden, written by Peggy Thomas with art by Neely Daggett, is fun, beautiful, and inspiring. 

Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

It teaches kids that there is a whole world of wonder under the soil. With rhymes, action sounds, and playful illustrations, this book is a must-have for any kid's bookshelf.  Kids will see diverse characters (that reflect their own lived experience!) having a garden, learning, eating, and playing.

By teaching about gardening and growing foods early, you can inspire a lifetime of gardening, delicious eating, and environmental stewardship. The book will be released May 29, 2024.

I loved it!

Highly, highly recommended.

Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

We were lucky enough to speak with author Peggy Thomas about her book, inspiration, teaching using this book, starting a garden, and more. Here's what she had to say...

Author Peggy Thomas. From Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

Please tell us about your new book, The Soil in Jackie's Garden...
The Soil in Jackie's Garden is a read-aloud picture book that follows Jackie and her friends as they plant and grow their favorite snack. Along the way they meet the critters that create healthy soil, and become inspired to do their part by composting food scraps. There is also a secondary text on each page with information about plants, soil and the creatures who live in it.  

Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always wanted to write a book about soil because healthy soil is so important to all of us, but I struggled to find the right storyline. While teaching a writing class for Michigan Ag in the Classroom, I talked about classic story structures like “The House that Jack Built” and used the soil cycle as an example. That’s when everything started to click. I’d never written a cumulative story before and had fun playing with the sequence and the language so kids can follow along and join in. 

I LOVE how accessible and informative this book is! How can parents and caregivers best teach using this book?
Cumulative stories are great for beginning readers to learn word recognition because of the repetition. For example, a parent can point out the word worm and help the child find it on other pages. This book can also be used as a kind of scavenger hunt out in the yard looking for a worm, a flower, and identifying parts of a plant. Most of all, I hope it inspires people to go outside and explore the natural world around them, maybe even start their own compost pile.

Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden
The illustrations are so much fun! Please tell us about your illustrator, Neely Daggett...
Neely Daggett is a marvelous illustrator from Portland, Oregon who creates characters with a lot of heart. She is responsible for all the magic. If you just read the words, you'll notice that I never describe Jackie or the setting. It is Neely who creates an entire world where characters of different ages and backgrounds come together in a beautiful community garden. I love what she did with the story. You can see more of her work on her website,

Illustrator Neely Daggett. From Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

How can kids learn more about starting a garden?
The easiest place to start is with a container garden. You can use a recycled milk carton, a window box, or an old boot, anything that holds some soil and has holes for drainage. Plant easy-to-grow seeds like sunflowers, lettuce or peas.  And, of course, there are many wonderful books to read. Some of my favorites include: Go Seed, Grow by Flora C. Caputo;  Eddie’s Garden and How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland; and Plant, Sow, Make & Grow: Mud-tastic Activities for Budding Gardeners by Esther Coombs.

How can readers find your work?
My website is You'll find a list of all my books, information about school visits, and links to activities and lesson plans for each title. I am a contributing writer for the Nonfiction Ninjas blog, and you can find out what my next projects are by following me on Facebook at PeggyThomasWrites, and Instagram at peggy.thomas.writes.

Read This Adorable, Informative, Delicious Book: The Soil in Jackie's Garden

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm not a speedy writer, so it is exciting for me to have 2 books coming out in one year. My second book is titled, A Family of Trees: My First Book of Forests. This one is a board book about how trees live and work together. It’s published by Phaidon Press and has a unique design. When you open it, it stretches almost 8 feet long so you are surrounded by a forest.


About the Author: 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

About the Publisher: 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


Jessie Voigts is the publisher of Wandering Educators. She has a PhD in International Education, has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way.

Jessie is one of the top 50 travel bloggers in the world, and was named a White House travel blogger with her site, Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, and is passionate about study abroad and international education.