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CCFB News» June 2023

Planting Seeds

06/05/2023 @ 9:20 am | By Katrina Milton, Director of Ag Literacy

Happy Summer Vacation!


When I was younger, the last day of the school year was always bittersweet. I knew I would miss my friends and teacher, but I was always excited for the warm weather and unlimited free reading time summer vacation would allow.


As an avid reader and bibliophile, I spent my summer days (and nights) with my nose stuck in a book. I had a swing set with a treehouse, and I always wished the treehouse would be “The Magic Treehouse” from the Mary Pope Osborne book series, so I could go on time-traveling adventures like Jack and Annie.


I always participated in my library’s summer reading program, and I am still a regular at my library, where all of the librarians have known me by name since childhood. However, when I was younger, I visited the library for the 30 minutes of computer and internet time, shelves of VHS tapes and extensive annual book sale. These days, I borrow cookbooks, travel guides and novels.


To help bring agricultural books to classrooms, Illinois Ag in the Classroom has opened up their 2023 Book Grant for teachers. Teachers can apply for up to $250 in books, with the application due Oct. 20. For a full list of grant books and the application, visit


Below are a few books available through the grant. These agriculturally accurate books would make a great starting point for summer reading at any age!



Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

By: Kate Messner


Explore the secret realm beneath the dirt that brings the world of nature to life: Follow a young girl and her grandmother on a journey through the year planning, planting and harvesting their garden—and learn about what's happening in the dirt to help make it all happen.






Logan’s Greenhouse

By: JaNay Brown-Wood


Logan searches for carrots in his wheelchair-accessible greenhouse in this vibrant exploration of gardening and healthy eating, from the Where in the Garden? picture book series.




Soul Food Sunday

By: Winsome Bingham


Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions and gathering together at the table.




May Your Life Be Deliciosa

By: Michael Genhart


 A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making.





By Neal and Jarrod Shusterman


When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival.






Save Me a Seat

By Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan


Two boys—one white, one Indian American—gain strength from each other from afar as they struggle to navigate middle school, family and friendships. 



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