A Splendid and Stunning Read: A Seed Is the Start by Melissa Stewart Review by Jennifer Sniadecki

I’ve been spending my summer getting back to nature as much as possible. While I love exploring my local vacation destinations, I also wonder about nature in other parts of the world. Melissa Stewart has given me a peek into plant life from all over the globe in her new book, A Seed is the Start. What a beautiful book! I’m one of those teachers who tirelessly searches for engaging nonfiction texts to add to my classroom and school libraries, and this one is a must-have.

A Seed is the Start is a National Geographic Kids book, so you know it’s going to be filled with gorgeous photographs, and Melissa Stewart is a pro at providing readers with beautiful pictures and text that work together seamlessly. This book is formatted as expository literature, much more appealing than traditional nonfiction in my opinion. The bright and colorful infographics show how all kinds of seeds travel and start the growing process. Seeds fly, spin, spill, splash, pop, drift, cling…the reader learns so much in these 32 pages – it’s an amazing way to spend an afternoon of reading!

When you open the book, you find the same bright colors as the front cover throughout the book. You can see the details of seeds and plants that you miss when you’re outside. You get a chance to discover the intricacies of the seeds, and even find humor in the process (the kids will love what my family calls “the poop page”).

What I like most about this book is that Melissa uses words and pictures together to teach readers about seeds in a way that makes the reader wonder, examine, and care about plants — and the earth. I closed the book and immediately wanted to plant seeds somewhere that will beautify my own place in the world. Melissa also added a glossary in the front of the book and source information in the back for those interested in further reading. This book is perfect for teaching children about seeds, as well as exploring figurative language, researching a topic, presenting information with infographics, and of course, enjoying reading. On Melissa’s website, the description of this book suggests that A Seed is the Start is for ages 6-9, but I recommend it for middle school science research studies, as well.

Spend some summer reading time with Melissa Stewart’s A Seed is the Start. Then head outside and enjoy the beautiful plant life that surrounds you and your home.

Jennifer Sniadecki is a middle school teacher-librarian and former literacy coach in South Bend, Indiana. She is an avid reader, and will read anything the Nerdy Book Club or her friends from NCTE recommend. Jennifer is honored to present her literacy series, “Picture Book Are Perfect for Middle School,” at several venues this year. Jennifer can be found on Twitter, and contributes to #G2Great chats for fun. Check out her posts at @jdsniadecki or on her blog, http://www.readingteacherwrites.com.