Little Steps, 2023
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95
Orlando lives in a light, bright apartment that has a large balcony where he plays with his trucks and diggers most days, in amongst the plants that his parents have planted in pots and containers.. But mostly he loves going on walks with his parents and discovering all the different plants they see on the way. He is fascinated by their diversity – their colours, shapes, sizes and textures – so when he plants a bean seed in his sandpit and it sprouts, it is just the beginning of a whole new world of discovery for him.
Including some beginner-gardener activities, this is a story designed to inspire young readers to take an interest in growing things and perhaps even grow their own. Even if they only have a balcony, there are many things that can be grown in pots – all they need are the right conditions and someone who cares enough to nurture them.
The rise in school kitchen gardens and the support available for them including how they are integral to the sustainability and environmental strands of the curriculum shows that there are many children who are interested in growing things, particularly if they can eat the produce when it is ready, and Orlando’s story is not only an inspiration to get started but also shows that even those living in flats and apartments can join in the fun. (In fact, he probably grows more there than we can here on acres of thin mountain soil exposed to all weathers.)
As the new term looms, and planting season for many things is on the horizon, this could be one to kickstart some initial planning, particularly using the initial guide from NSW Department of Education.