Happy Book Birthday: GARDENS ARE FOR GROWING Plus Critique Giveaway

Hurray! Hurray! Hurray! A brand-new book launching TODAY, just in time for Spring and all those little gardeners who are itching to get planting.

Written by Chelsea Tornetto – Illustrated by Hsulynn Pang – Published by Familius

Here’s a little bit about the book from the Amazon sales page:
Sunshine is for soaking up,
and seeds are meant for sowing.
Raindrops give small sprouts a drink,
and gardens are for growing.

In this tender poem, the love between a father and daughter blossoms alongside the seeds they plant together. As the garden grows, the daughter grows from a toddler to a teen and finally to a woman with a child of her own. The cottagecore illustrations beautifully connect the seasons of nature with the seasons of life, where new beginnings abound.

Spring is meant for brand new starts,
and hearts are meant for knowing.
Homes are made to call you back
where gardens are for growing.

What a joyful cover! And wait till you open the book and turn the pages:


See what I mean? With our world in turmoil, I think a book like this provides a moment of calm and a safe haven for young children – a place where they can plan to make new memories with loved ones.

And Chelsea was so kind…she stopped by to offer a giveaway…winner’s choice of a Picture Book Critique or a copy of the book. And she also wanted to share a bit about the path to publication for Gardens Are for Growing

CHELSEA: I am SO not a gardener, myself.  I do not have a green thumb!  But my husband is a natural, and over the years he’s built a small but thriving vegetable garden in our backyard.  While I may not be good at growing things myself, I really love watching my kids grow up digging for earthworms and harvesting zucchini that are bigger than they are!  I wanted to share the value of time spent in a garden with other families.

This was the book that got me my agent, so it’s extra special   I wrote it in a single night at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania.  I find that my strongest manuscripts are the ones that just pour out – like they’re meant to be!

WOW! – that is amazing! It’s the manuscript that got Chelsea her agent! She wrote it in a single night while at Highlights Foundation! So, this is a shout-out to people who are wondering if writing retreats are of value…YES, they are! And also a gentle nudge to those who may be working on one manuscript (and only one manuscript) for many years, tweaking and revising till they get it ‘perfect’ before they send it out. While it true we want to submit our best work – it’s important to realize that no manuscript will ever be ‘finished’…when your CPs say it’s ready…and you feel it’s polished…send it out into the world…and be working on others.

To find out more about the lovely Chelsea and her books:
Chelsea Tornetto is an author, world geography teacher, and mom who has been writing ever since she was a kid. Her first book, Conquering Content Vocabulary, was published by Scholastic in 2018, but now her passion is picture books. In both the classroom and in her books, her goal is to help kids fall in love with the wonders of our world and to introduce them to places and people beyond their own backyard. She lives in Jackson, Missouri, with her husband, Mike, her two kids, Tessa and Milo, and a miniature dachshund named Stella.  She loves snow days, lattes, and summer.  She hates spiders, her sinuses, and laundry.
Her website is www.chelseatornetto.com
Twitter is @MrsTornetto
Amazon links for her two new books:
God Made You Too
Gardens Are for Growing

At this moment in time, I am in France – ooh la la – hopefully sipping a hot chocolate and munching on a croissant. And where should you be? I wish you could be with me in Paris, sharing that croissant, but if you can’t, you should be leaving a comment to be entered in the giveaway – winner’s choice of either a picture book critique or a copy of the book. Maybe you can share what would be growing in your garden if you had one.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

59 thoughts on “Happy Book Birthday: GARDENS ARE FOR GROWING Plus Critique Giveaway

  1. This is so inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing.
    My garden would be full of basil, avocados, bell peppers, eggplants and mangos…if only I had a green thumb.

    Like

  2. What beautiful illustrations! I’ve just ordered blackberry, raspberry and redcurrant bushes as well as ground cover tomatoes. When the weather warms up I’ll also plant carrots, strawberries and lots of bee friendly flowers :o)

    Like

  3. My house is named “Enchanted Grove” and a narrow garden encircles it. Here rose bushes, oranges, lime and lemons grow. Meanwhile, my backyard is potted with all kinds of cacti, climbing roses and yucca. Gardens are a gift from God, and this book will be a gift to my 4-week old grandson, Liam, very soon. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Highlights conferences have been a great learning tool. I attended two back in the 90’s. I was lucky to have the great Patty Gauch and Sharon Creech (she won the Newberry that week) as my writing mentors. Still have a T-shirt I won during an auction with all the instructors/writers’ signatures on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your book and it’s inspiration. Right now my garden is still under threat of frost so on hold for a little while longer!

    Like

  6. Oh, how I love this glimpse at your book! The music of your words and the artwork by Hsulynn Pang are delightful! I can’t wait to share it with young friends who love gardening.
    My husband covered our raised bed and tucked Christmas lights in among the veggies to ward off Jack Frost last winter. Several plants overwintered. Today I will harvest cherry tomatoes and edible nasturtiums for supper.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I, too am NOT a gardener, but I can appreciate all of the love and dedication that goes into one. There is an abundance of life beneath our soil and to tie that in with the circle of life was an amazing, unique idea. Congratulations on landing an agent. Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This story looks delightful! Our family also has a small, but thriving vegetable garden and I love watching the dedication our kiddos put into the planning and caring of it. This is one of those books we’ll be able to relate to! Thank you for sharing a peek at your new book, and congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We started a pandemic garden. It’s small, but we love growing things we can cook and eat like broccoli, squash and tomatoes. We also have lots of rosemary and green onions. But flowers are beautiful too, and we have lots of bulbs that come up at different times of the year. Thanks for the great interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh I love this! We have our seeds started safety inside still here in Idaho, where it is currently dumping about 4 inches of rather unseasonal April snow. So dreaming about the garden is a wonderful way to start the morning! Can’t wait to read this beautiful rhyming book!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations Chelsea and Hsulynn! Calm, gardening, family, color, time, and rhyme- looks wonderful. I have peonies coming up through no green thumbing on my part.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a delight to read this story! I have flower gardens in my backyard and always looking at how to add more plants. I especially love when the birds drop seeds that grow into “volunteers” – unexpected garden guests.
    Have a great time in France, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It just stopped snowing in Rochester, NY (well maybe not yet) but I’m planning a pollinator garden as soon as I can get out there. Good luck with the book. It looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love your premise….gardens do last a lifetime. When we moved to a condo, our daughters dug up the perennial herbs and flowers in our garden and transplanted them in theirs. Your book is a keeper!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This book is beautiful! I plant a vegetable garden each year because I enjoy fresh tomatoes, beans, and peppers. It’s lovely to have fresh foods available just outside my door.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Gardening is a passion. I have raised beds filled all summer. I also sponsor and tend a garden at a local child care center. I get to read books, plant with the children,

    and investigate together.

    Like

  17. I LOVE this book! Gardening is one of my favorite things! Not weeds. Don’t get me wrong. They are not my favorite. Or earwigs. But gardens, yes! This book is gorgeous! Congratulations, Chelsea! I’ve already put out a few garlic cloves that were sprouting (quite successful last year). And then it snowed. They still look fine though. Ready for some cold weather seeds like radishes, kale, and lettuce. Mmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Congratulations Chelsea!
    “Fences are for leaning on and neighbors are for knowing”
    Oh my goodness, I love that!
    What an inspiration that she wrote this in one night at a Highlight’s retreat.
    I am guessing it was also a cumulation of years of dedication to her craft!

    Like

  19. I am an avid gardener who gardens still with my grandchildren. This book feels like a warm hug to me! What a wonderful gift to the reading world!

    Like

  20. Congratulations, Chelsea! Your book looks delightful. I still love putzing in my garden–takes me to whole new level in my day. 🙂

    Like

  21. I do have a garden, but living in Alaska means I can’t grow many of my favorite flowers. If I lived somewhere warmer, I’d plant lots of tulips! Congratulations– this looks like a beautiful book.

    Like

  22. I love the concept for this book and can’t wait to read it. I also do not have a green thumb but my husband and son are amazing gardeners! My son grew an avocado tree from a pit in Maryland, and we had it transported to Florida where it now sits in a community garden. Viva la gardener!

    Like

  23. Thank you for sharing your inspiration for this book and for sharing the amazing story of writing it in a single day! Congratulations on your newest book! It looks delightful!

    Like

  24. This book looks so beautiful!! Incredible illustrations and absolutely love the message of blossoming in life together like seeds blooming in a garden and sharing the act of gardening with family. I can’t wait to read this book, Chelsea!!! I also love writing in rhyme. Congratulations!

    Like

  25. My second graders used to love growing flowers for Mother’s Day. I have a black thurmb, but I was great at plant experiments – testing things like lots of water, little water and in-between. I miss those days now that I’m retired. Thanks for bring back some great memories!

    Like

  26. What a beautiful story with wonderful cadence – I couldn’t resist reading it aloud after the first line! My garden is mostly mud and rocks right now…but I have dreams 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Congratulations Chelsea! Looking forward to reading your books! I
    love our garden and gardening, however the garden seems to like my husband more!!! Guess his thumb is a bit greener than mine! 🙂

    Like

  28. I rarely leave comments but this book is so beautiful, I just had to had to give it a shout-out, a thumbs up and a virtual hug! Congrats!

    Like

  29. What a great post! Congratulations, Chelsea! I’m so happy for you and I can’t wait to read your book! I love gardening and have flowers all over my yard. Someday I’d like to have a vegetable garden.

    Like

  30. What a lovely story! I’m impressed how you capture the heart of gardening while admitting you are not a gardener, but an observer of those who dig, sow, weed, and harvest. I bet you do enjoy feeding those healthy veggies to your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Chelsea has 2 fabulous children’s books available and I cannot be more excited for her! I love the message and meaning behind this story. I grew up with a family garden and have tried to continue that tradition with my own kids.

    Like

  32. Yay, for writing a manuscript in one sitting. The ones that ‘pour out’ are definitely meant to be!
    Such lovely heartfelt language and sweet illustrations. As an avid gardener, I love the idea of sharing the joys and wonder of growing things with young children.

    Like

  33. What a calming book! I started weeding my flower beds a week ago – iris and lilies are my favorite. However, Old Man winter wanted to make one more appearance – ugh!

    Like

  34. Wonderful Chelsea I cant wait to read this book. I dont have a garden as I live in an apartment in Cape Town. However what I do have is the Atlantic ocean right outside my doorstep and that is a magical garden in itself …the kelp looks like an underwater forest. Instead of planting and digging my dog Tara and I love to collect shells and look for orange starfish.

    Like

  35. You have inspired me to grow some lavender in my yard, Chelsea! Congratulations on this wonderful book and gorgeous illustrations, Chelsea and Hsulynn, and thank you for this lovely review, Vivian! Enjoy Paris!!

    Like

  36. CHELSEA: The cover of your book ALONE PULLED at my heartstrings and PULLED me into the story. I CAN’T WAIT to savor this one–perhaps while sitting in the garden I have SO MANY CHERISHED memories of helping my grandmother grow. SO SWEET! SO BEAUTIFUL! THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION to find ways to use our words to plant seeds of love in our readers’ hearts TOO!

    Like

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