By Andrea Karen Hammer
For Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World, the prize-winning children’s book of the season is We Are the Gardeners by Magnolia co-founder and New York Times bestselling author Joanna Gaines.
Colorful Illustrations Capture Book’s Theme & Spirit
Along with the timely subject of helping children learn important life lessons in the garden, the book published by Thomas Nelson is notable because of Julianna Swaney‘s colorful illustrations. Her watercolors skillfully capture the spirit of the Gaines’ family garden–and immediately connect viewers with the magic of watching plants grow.
Inspired by whimsical details of daily life and the fairy tales she loved reading as a child, Julianna Swaney‘s homeschooling allowed her imagination to roam freely. Her watercolor, gouache and colored pencil illustrations have expressed interests in folklore, nature and history. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she illustrates children’s books and works in her garden, a shared passion that visually expresses the themes in Gaines’ first children’s book.
Adventures of a Family Garden and Lessons Learned
In We Are the Gardeners, Joanna and her kids chronicle the adventures of starting their own family garden. From their failed endeavors, obstacles to overcome (like bunnies that eat everything!) and all the knowledge they’ve gained along the way, the Gaines family shares how they learned to produce a thriving garden.
“The garden has always been a place that inspires me. There’s something about digging deep into fresh soil or watching new life burst from what was not long ago just a tiny seed that reinforces what a gift life is,” said Joanna.
“I think that’s part of why my kids have come to love spending time in the garden just as much as I do. It can be a great teacher, if we pause long enough to notice all there is to learn.”
This book will inspire children and their families to start their own gardens, learn how to take care of plants and enjoy the fruits of their labors together. Key lessons involve reminders that the hard work sometimes produces great rewards—and time well spent the garden!
Fifth Family Book and Previous Ones in a Growing Business
Fans of the Gaines family admire the way that Joanna and Chip use humor and creativity to interact with each other and their children. Their easy collaboration continues to feed a growing business, which includes the magazine Magnolia, a home decor shop and more. Their foundation is dedicated to youth as well as family housing and community restoration.
This book is the Gaines family’s fifth one with HarperCollins Publishers. They previously published The Magnolia Story (Thomas Nelson), Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff (Thomas Nelson); Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering (William Morrow Cookbooks); and Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave (Harper Design).
To learn more about their creative projects and this beautiful book, see Magnolia.